Stimulating transitions in moral reasoning as a function of stage of cognitive development

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Abstract

Examined L. Kohlberg's proposition that cognitive development is necessary though not sufficient for moral development. The specific hypothesis tested, in a pre-posttest control group design involving 44 female adolescents (mean age 16.2 yrs), was that Moral Stage 3 Ss who have attained “early basic formal operations” are more susceptible to attempts to stimulate moral development than Stage 3 Ss who have attained only “beginning formal operations” and lack the cognitive prerequisites for moral transitions. A series of pretests (verbal reasoning and logico-physical problems, and Moral Judgment Interview) was used to obtain Ss who met the appropriate cognitive and moral criteria. The treatment exposed Ss to Stage 4 reasoning in individual role-playing situations. A moral judgment posttest followed 1 wk later. Results confirm the hypothesis, thus providing evidence for the proposition that cognitive development is necessary for moral reasoning development. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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