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Judging Others Who Hold Opposite Beliefs: The Development of Belief-Discrepancy Reasoning

Robert D. Enright and Daniel K. Lapsley
Child Development
Vol. 52, No. 3 (Sep., 1981), pp. 1053-1063
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129111
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129111
Page Count: 11
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Judging Others Who Hold Opposite Beliefs: The Development of Belief-Discrepancy Reasoning
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Abstract

Subjects' judgments of intolerance toward disagreeing others were examined developmentally in 3 studies. A developmental progression emerged as follows: level 0 = failure to understand that one can judge another's beliefs in relation to the self's, level 1 = rejecting others who disagree with the self, level 2 = tolerance toward disagreeing others, and level 3 = a willingness with more knowledge of the other's beliefs to judge the other in relation to his or her beliefs. In study 1, the belief-discrepancy construct was explored through an open-ended, clinical interview with third, seventh, and twelfth graders. In study 2 an objective measure of the construct was related significantly to moral judgment in samples of ninth and twelfth graders, college students, and adults. In study 3, a different objective measure of the belief-discrepancy construct was significantly related to Piagetian logical reasoning in first, fourth, seventh, and tenth graders and college students. The evidence suggests that intolerance may be a lower level of reasoning in a social cognitive developmental progression.

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