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Journal Article

Conceptions of Personal Issues: A Domain Distinct from Moral or Societal Concepts

Larry Nucci
Child Development
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Mar., 1981), pp. 114-121
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129220
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129220
Page Count: 8
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Conceptions of Personal Issues: A Domain Distinct from Moral or Societal Concepts
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Abstract

The study employed a series of sorting tasks with 80 subjects (age 7-20) to determine whether children and adolescents make a conceptual distinction between events defined as personal matters and issues of morality or social convention. It was found that subjects at all ages ranked moral violations as more wrong than violations of convention. Social conventional violations, in turn, were ranked as more wrong than the commission of acts in the personal domain. Reasons given for event rankings were consistent with the moral, conventional, or personal nature of acts. In other sorting tasks, subjects ranked moral transgressions as wrong even in the absence of governing rules. In the final task, subjects sorted acts in the personal domain as their own business and, as such, acts which should not be rule governed.

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