Kohlberg's theory

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  • Kohlburg's Theory
    • Claims
      • There are 3 levels of moral development, each split into 2 stages.
        • Pre-conventional
        • Conventional
        • Post-conventional
      • People move through stages in a fixed order.
      • Criminals lower in moral development.
    • Components
      • 72 Chicago boys aged 10-16
      • 58 of whom were followed up at three yearly intervals for 20 years.
      • Each boy given 2 hour interview based on 10 dilemmas.
      • In each case, he presented a choice to be considered.
        • E.g. between the rights of some authority and needs of some deserving individual who's been unfairly treated.
    • Credibility
      • He further developed Piaget work and offered more detailed stage sequencing for moral thinking.
      • Carried out a longitudinal study.
        • Saw clear changes in moral development over time.
      • Kohlberg's body of work on the stages on moral development.
        • Has been utilized by others working in the field.
      • Subjective theory- different analysts may come to different conclusions.
      • Lacks ecological validity.
        • If faced in real life the response may be different.
      • Reductionist- doesn't take biological differences into account.
      • Deterministic- lack of moral development=criminal.
    • Analysis
      • Criminals more likely to be at the 'pre-conventional' stage.
        • Crime will be committed because they think they can get away with it.
          • Or brings significant enough reward.
        • Offenders more likely to be ego-centric.
          • Less concerned with the rights of others.
      • Fred&Rose West
        • Life sentences for 12&10 murders.
        • Lower moral development, pre-conventional.
      • Nelson Mandela
        • 27 years in prison for treason and abotage.
        • Higher moral development.
    • Refuting Evidence
      • Simpson (1974)
        • Kohlberg's stages are culturally biased.
        • His morality development stages model is based on Western culture.
      • Gilligan (1982)
        • Observes the Kohlberg's stages.
          • Says that the stages were derived exclusively from interviews with males.
        • So, there's a sex bias.
    • Supporting Evidence
      • Colby et al (1983)
        • Longitudinal research.
        • Tested 58 male participant's of Kohlberg's original study.
        • Tested them 6 times.
          • In the span of 27 years.
        • Found support for Kohlberg's original conclusion.
          • We all pass through the stages of moral development.
            • In the same order.


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