Lawrence Kohlberg

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Lawrence Kohlberg

1927: Lawrence Kohlberg was born in Bronxville, New York.1948: Kohlberg entered the University of Chicago and completed his Bachelor's degree in Psychology.1949: Kohlberg began his doctoral work at The University of Chicago.1957-1958: Kohlberg uses his doctoral dissertation research on the moral development of children, proposes his six stages.1958-1968: Kohlberg teaches at The University of Chicago.1968: As a result of his succesful dissertation, Kohlberg found professional recognition and was hired by Harvard University. He began teaching education and social psychology. He also expanded his research related to moral development.1969: Kohlberg traveled to Israel where he was impressed with the moral development of youth participating in kibbutz. Kohlberg was so influenced by the kibbutz that he returned to the United States and founded several "just communities" schools.1971: Contracted a tropical disease while conducting research in Belize.1987: Kohlberg died at the age of 59 years old.


Preconventional LevelStage 1. Punishment and Obedience OrientationStage 2. Naive instrumental orientationConventional LevelStage 3. Good-boy, Nice-girl OrientationStage 4. Law-and-Order OrientationPostconventionalStage 5. Social-Contract orientationStage 6. Universal Ethical Principles

*Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan worked together on the “just community” project. “Just communities” were school environments in which students were encouraged to form relationships of basic trust; these school communities provided students with the opportunity to be self-governed. *Kohlberg was a recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Contributions award.

Lasting Impact

Kohlberg made morality a central concern in the area of psychology, and he remains an important part of the field of psychology in moral development and education.


Thomas, R. M. (2005). Comparing theories of child development (6th ed.). Belmont,CA: Wadsworth.Long, R. (n.d.). Lawrence Kohlberg. Retrieved from

Lawrence Kohlberg1927-1987


Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development

Mind Changers-Episode 8


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