Lawrence Kohlberg

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Lawrence Kohlberg

Lawrence Kohlberg

Dr.Lawrence Kohlberg created a theory about morality after doing a research study based off of children's responses to a moral disposition. He admired Piaget's theory of moral development and wanted to elaborate and extend on the subject. He created a moral dilema about a man who stole a miracle drug from a chemist, in order to save his dying wife. He concluded that the older a person gets, the more his or her moral reasoning changes.

Level 1 - Pre- conventional morality Stage 1. Obedience and Punishment Orientation. The child/individual is good in order to avoid being punished. If a person is punished, they must have done wrong.• Stage 2. Individualism and Exchange. At this stage children recognize that there is not just one right view that is handed down by the authorities. Different individuals have different viewpoints.

BiasedAccording to Gilligan (1977), the studies were done on all males, which doesn't create a valid resonse because its based off a male's morality only.

The DilemasThe children interviewed have never experienced adulthood, but was asked to critique an adult situation.

Poor Research Rather than test the children one time, it is suggested that he should have did longitudinal research on the children.



Level 2 - Conventional MoralityStage 3. Good Interpersonal Relationships. The child/individual is good in order to be seen as being a good person by others. Therefore, answers relate to the approval of others.• Stage 4. Maintaining the Social Order. The child/individual becomes aware of the wider rules of society so judgments concern obeying the rules in order to uphold the law and to avoid guilt.

Level 3- Post-conventional morality Stage 5. Social Contract and Individual Rights. The child/individual becomes aware that while rules/laws might exist for the good of the greatest number, there are times when they will work against the interest of particular individuals.Stage 6. Universal Principles. People at this stage have developed their own set of moral guidelines which may or may not fit the law. The principles apply to everyone.


Colby et al. (1983) who tested 58 male participants of Kohlberg’s original study. She tested them 6 times in the span of 27 years and found support for Kohlberg’s original conclusion, that we all pass through the stages of moral development in the same order.



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