Last Updated 06 Jul 2020

Lawrence Kohlberg’s Research

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Essay type Research
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It is true that the research of Lawrence Kohlberg was focused around the concept of moral reasoning, which also can be called moral development (Answer 1). Lawrence Kohlberg was a known American specialist in psychiatry, who was interested in problems of moral development: moral judgments and moral choices. He is famous for his long-term experiments with young children (some of them lasted more than 20 years), during which Kohlberg studied the development of moral judgments and moral choices of the children. As a result, in 1981the theory of moral development was created.

According to the findings of the specialist, there are six stages of moral development, which can be grouped into three different levels: (1) pre-conventional morality, which includes two sub-stages: (a) punishment-obedience orientation, and (b) instrumental relativist orientation; (2) conventional morality, which includes two sub-stages: (a) good boy-good girl orientation, and (b) instrumental relativist orientation; and (3) post-conventional morality, which includes the following sub-stages: (a) social contract orientation, and (b) universal ethical principle orientation (Wong, 2000).

Therefore, during the process of moral development, every individual gradually passes through all these six stages. At that Kohlberg was underlining that not every adult individual can reach the highest stage in his/her moral development. Besides, not every time real behavior of an individual was correspondent to the achieved stage of moral development. This theory was criticized and the opponents of Kohlberg’s scientific conclusions pointed on several drawbacks of this research. In particular, the fact that all the experiments were made with male children is considered to be a serious disadvantage.

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Wong, A. S. (2000, September). Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development. Blessed to Be Blessing. Retrieved April 23, 2008, from: ; ;.

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