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The Sequentiality of Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development

Lawrence J. Walker
Child Development
Vol. 53, No. 5 (Oct., 1982), pp. 1330-1336
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129023
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129023
Page Count: 7
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The Sequentiality of Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development
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Abstract

Kohlberg's claim that moral development proceeds through an invariant sequence of stages was examined experimentally by attempting to induce regression and stage skipping. Fifth- through seventh-grade children were tested to determine their cognitive, perspective-taking, and moral development. Those children with the stages of cognitive and perspective-taking development held by Kohlberg to be prerequisite to further moral development were exposed, in a brief role-playing situation, to 1 of the treatment conditions: 1-stage-below reasoning, 1-stage-above reasoning, 2-stages-above reasoning, neutral treatment, or no treatment. Moral-reasoning posttests followed 1 and 7 weeks later. Results supported the sequentiality claim as development was always to the next higher stage. However, contrary to the view that exposure to 1-stage-above reasoning represents the optimal means to induce development, it was found that 2-stages-above reasoning was just as effective.

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