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Child Psychology Chapter 14
Terms in this set (44)
Lawrence Kohlberg's Focus and Methods**
Focus: moral reasoning ability
Observation: playing games, resolving conflict
Two child scenario: "who is more naughty?"
Moral dilemma: character has to choose between two actions. "what should they do?"
Preconventional ---> Conventional ---> Postconventional
-two stages within each level
Stage I Heteronomous Morality
"externally dictated" --> from parents/God
Before age 5, don't reason about moral issues in a principled way
Mottos: avoid punishment, seek reward
what parents say is right
Requirements: Cognitive: Late Preoperations (age 4)
Parents setting & enforcing rules of behavior
aka moral realism: A flaw in moral reasoning
The morality of an action depends entirely
on its physical consequences.
*In Heteronomous Morality
Another flaw in moral reasoning
Good deeds are always rewarded &
Bad deeds are always punished.
Suffering is punishment for wrongdoing &
A positive experience is reward for doing good.
Stage II Individualism and Instrumental Purpose
(8 to 12yo)
Autonomous morality - morality of an action depends on context. Determined by self. Intentions matter.
Mottos: "You scratch my back & I'll scratch yours"
Individualism - concerned with selfish gain.
Instrumental purpose - try to negotiate so rules serve self.
"I can get a better deal."
Developments: Understand that rules
are a social agreement
can be changed
**Acknowledge subjective responsibility
**No longer believe in immanent justice
Cognitive: Concrete operations (age 6 ½ years)
Critical experience: Resolving conflicts with peers.
Stage III Interpersonal Conformity
(12 to 16 yo)
Morality = opinion of valued groups.
First stage of the Conventional Level
Mottos: "Be a good person"
"Do whatever would cause the group to think well of you."
-Take a broader social perspective.
-Understand that good rules serve the group, not just oneself.
-Concern about reputation.
Cognitive: Late Concrete Operations (10 yrs.)
Observe peer groups to _____ individuals.
Stage IV Law and Order
Morality: The law is right because it preserves the social order.
Motto: "What if everyone was allowed to decide
which law it was OK to break?"
-Take a societal perspective
-Can imagine a lawless society.
-Believe members of society have duties and responsibilities.
-Feel moral emotions
Guilt and dishonor for not being true to one's moral code.
Cognitive: Formal Operations (puberty)
Formal moral training
Reflection on controversial issues
Leadership roles in civic activities.
**The child's recommendation is not as important as
the child's justification.
I: moral action is essentially whatever avoids moral punishment
II: acts so as to maximize one's own selfish gains
III: do what a majority of the people around you would approve
IV: do one's duty, respect authority, and consider the consequences to the social order
Support for Kohlberg-Piaget theory
Consistent responding across dilemmas.
Longitudinal studies find fixed sequence with no regression
Child's stage of moral reasoning correlates with
Piagetian stage of intelligence.
Peer experience is important for transitions.
Stage 1 → 2
Stage 2 → 3 (see p. 562)
Weaknesses for Kohlberg-Piaget Theory
Underestimation of younger children's moral reasoning ability.
2 yos. know & accept behavioral rules.
Piaget's scenarios show recency effect: Mention physical damage last.
When intentions are mentioned last, even 5 yo. give them some weight.
Show 4 yos. comic strips of an act that causes damage.
Present the intentions of the actor in a thought bubble.
Result: child who intentionally hurt the kid is naughtier. Intentions matter.
Is the theory sexist?
Carol Gilligan: Girls are taught an "ethic of care"
which the theory devalues.
Ethic of Care: females evaluate dilemmas in terms of issues of responsibility and care-- whether someone has an obligation to do something based on the value of a personal relationship rather than on the right to do something based on rules.
Kohlberg said females' reasoning was inferior to males
Competing Principles vs. Harmony
To resolve a conflict,
Western culture favors
choosing one party over another based on competing principles.
Many other cultures favor
requiring both members to compromise and achieve harmony.
Walker and Taylor's Study
Recruited children from ages 6 to 16 and their parents to participate in two laboratory sessions two years apart
First reacted to a Kohlberg dilemma and discuss what they disagreed on
Secondly, they discussed a real life dilemma
Parents lowered their level of moral reasoning during conversation while the children raised theirs
During conversation of a hypothetical dilemma, parents challenged their kids
The quality of interactions of the real life dilemmas predicted the child's moral reasoning two years later.
Styles of discipline
induction --> love withdrawal --> power assertion
(most effective to lease effective)
Turiel's Rules Domain Types
Moral: rules concern
-a person's rights and obligations
Social Convention: socially shared rules that concern
Personal Choice: individual preference among socially acceptable behavior
Turiel's Research w/ Preschoolers
Ranking of the rules: Moral --> Social Convention --> Personal Choice
Say that breaking a moral rule is wrong even if adult didn't see or child was unaware
-don't say this for other two rules
Children learn these rules through social interactions
Cognitive Social Learning Theory (Bandura)
Focus: moral behavior
Mechanisms: reward, punishment, modeling (observational learning)
Cross Situational Consistency: predicts low consistency in moral behavior across situations
Hartshorne and May
Exposed over 10,000 children (ages 8 to 16) so situations that provided an opportunity for dishonesty.
Results: showed little consistency and concluded that children's moral behavior does not reflect a personality trait but is situation specific
Reanalysis: (Burton 1984) Concluded that there is moderate consistency
helping, sharing, giving, resolving conflict, cooperating
Moral emotions that promote prosocial behavior
Empathy: the ability to experience another's emotions
Sympathy: the concern for another in response to their situation or emotional state
-a situation can arouse both emotions, and both can motivate prosocial behavior
Development of Empathy
Birth - 3 mos.: Contagious crying
3 mos. - 18 mos.: Respond to other's distress by trying to comfort self. Related to mirror recognition
18 mos. - 4 yrs.: Respond to other's distress by offering help. Begin to show sympathy.
4 yrs. - 7 yrs.: Respond to others' distress by offering more appropriate help.
Why? Improved perspective taking ability.
7 yrs. & up: Can empathize with those whom they imagine to have unpleasant lives.
Ex: famine victims, outcasts
Child sees a person appear to get hurt.
Responses that increase with age:
offering effective help
helping in more than one way
In many cultures,
imitation of adult activities is expected
even small children are given chores
participation in chores is associated w/
greater prosocial behavior (see p.570 - Six Cultures study & p. 571 - Iowa farm study)
Iowa Farm Study
Followed 400 seventh graders for 6 years on their farm as farmers were struggling economically
the farm youth made a significant contribution to the household
when interviewed as twelfth graders on what made their work important they said the importance of being counted on and being interconnected
Obstacles to Helping
Do not detect need or expectation to help
Lack of confidence in ability to help
Diffusion of responsibility
Fear of rejection or victimization
Other perceived costs
First observed around 12 mos.
-initiate and maintain interactions
if you help or share w/ another person
they are obligated to return the favor.
Even evident in preschoolers.
Conflict Resolution Methods
Negotiation - hears the other side out; tries to develop a plan that both agree to.
Disengagement - leaves the situation, giving up claim. Distances self from other.
Coercion - uses power - threat, verbal aggression, and physical aggression.
How ages use conflict resolution
Children: Coerc'n > Negot'n > Disengag't
Adolescents: Negot'n > Coerc'n = Disengag't
Adults: Negot'n > Disengag't > Coerc'n
Use of negotiation depends on the children's
Depends on the children's
relationship & past history w/ other
temperament (reactivity, inhibition)
socialization by parents, teachers, & peers
gender (girls/boys do not differ significantly in peacemaking but do in the method)
culture (some cultures resolve conflict faster)
Determinants of Prosocial Behavior
Empathy & Sympathy
Perspective taking and moral reasoning
Socialization - past history of reward, punishment, and observational learning
Kin selection - the greater the genetic similarity of the other, the greater the willingness to promote the other's welfare
Behavior intended to harm person or property & that is not socially sanctioned.
Types of Aggression
Instrumental - motivated to gain a resource.
vs. Hostile - motivated to harm another
Physical vs. Verbal vs. Relational (undermined victim's relationships, ex. spreading rumors)
Age trends in aggression
Over preschool years,
physical & instrumental decline
verbal & hostile increase
evident by age 5 or 6 yrs.
peak: 16 yrs.
Peak in violent crime: 16 yrs.
Gender Differences in aggression
Boys > girls in physical aggression
Girls > boys in relational aggression
No difference in verbal aggression
Gender segregation increases over childhood
within-gender aggression increases
between-gender aggression decreases
stable power relations within a group.
status determined by who wins conflicts gets most resources, gets most attention
Once it forms, overall aggression ↓
-Animal groups (incl'g humans) & groups of children form them.
Levels are associated w/ physical aggression
in men, but not women.
Studies are mixed regarding adolescent boys.
Levels are more strongly associated
w/ dominance than w/ aggression.
Levels rise or fall based on outcome of
Temperament in aggression
"Difficult" infants are at risk for becoming aggressive children, who in turn, are at risk for becoming
Impulsivity and poor executive function are also predictors of aggressiveness.
lower stage of moral reasoning
attribute hostile motives for others actions
overestimate how much peers approve of them
Parents of aggressive children tend to
encourage & model aggression
use power assertive discipline or
no discipline at all
Boys from "coercive families" are at risk for
peer rejection & school failure, which in turn puts them at risk for
dropping out of school & joining gangs.
Aggressive children have the same number of friends as nonaggressive children do
birds of a feather flock together, aka, they are friends with other aggressive children
Television and Real Life Violence
Children are likely to repeat aggressive behavior that they see on tv, especially if the actor was rewarded.
social problem-solving skills
perspective taking & empathy
to not always make hostile attributions
Changing the school environment
Make demands for behavior, but also hear the child out.
Express love and commitment.
Criticize/praise the child's behavior/effort, not the child.
Enforce the rules you say are rules.
Teach respect for everyone.
Teach strategies for self-control and social problem-solving
Scaffold situations for the child's moral success
If child misbehaves,
point out the natural consequences
discuss it from the perspective of the victim.
require child to repair any damage done.
For punishment, use time out or loss of privileges, rather than physical punishment.
Minimal sufficiency principle: Use methods that are just strong enough to get compliance.
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