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Cognitive and Perspective-Taking Prerequisites for Moral Development

Lawrence J. Walker
Child Development
Vol. 51, No. 1 (Mar., 1980), pp. 131-139
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129599
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129599
Page Count: 9
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Cognitive and Perspective-Taking Prerequisites for Moral Development
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Abstract

Kohlberg has proposed that both cognitive and perspective-taking development are necessary though not sufficient conditions for moral development. This study examined that proposition by attempting to stimulate moral development to stage 3 as a function of attainment of hypothesized prerequisites in cognitive and perspective-taking development. After assessing stage of development in each domain of reasoning, fourth-through seventh-grade children were exposed to moral stage 3 reasoning in a brief role-playing situation. This treatment was followed by a moral reasoning posttest and a follow-up. Results indicated that transitions to moral stage 3 were found only for those children who had attained the hypothesized prerequisites of "beginning formal operations" and "perspective-taking stage 3," thus confirming Kohlberg's proposition and implying the relevance of these prerequisites for the efficacy of moral education programs.

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