Cognitive and motivational parallels in moral development

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Two experiments examined parallels between L. Kohlberg's (1963, 1976) cognitive developmental stages and a hierarchy of incentives (motivations) based on Kohlberg's “motives for moral action” aspect. In Exp I, 134 undergraduates were simultaneously administered 2 perceptual motor tasks in 1 of 3 treatment conditions. In each treatment the opportunity for greater monetary reward on one task conflicted with one of the following incentives for performance on the other task: (a) interpersonal approval, (b) meeting the expectations of authority, and (c) choice in favor of distributive equality. As predicted by Kohlberg's moral judgment scale, Stage 3 Ss performed better for the interpersonal approval incentive, while Stage 4 Ss performed better to meet the expectations of authority. Postconventional Ss responded in favor of distributive equality to a greater extent than conventional (Stage 3 or Stage 4) Ss. Exp II included only Stage 3 and Stage 4 Ss and conflicted interpersonal approval directly with the expectations of authority. Results closely replicate those of Exp I. (French summary) (7 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

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