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Inhibitory Control as a Contributor to Conscience in Childhood: From Toddler to Early School Age

Grazyna Kochanska, Kathleen Murray and Katherine C. Coy
Child Development
Vol. 68, No. 2 (Apr., 1997), pp. 263-277
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131849
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131849
Page Count: 15
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Inhibitory Control as a Contributor to Conscience in Childhood: From Toddler to Early School Age
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Abstract

In this article we report a longitudinal extension of previous findings about the critical role of temperamental inhibitory or effortful control as the contributor to developing conscience in young children. A comprehensive observational battery, highly internally consistent, was developed to measure inhibitory control in 83 children at early school age who had been followed since toddlerhood and had been assessed using similar batteries at toddler and preschool age. We again confirmed the findings of robust longitudinal stability of inhibitory or effortful control, now from toddler to early school age, the increase with age, and gender differences, with girls outperforming boys. We also reaffirmed strong links, both contemporaneous and in the longitudinal sense, between inhibitory control and multiple, diverse measures of children's conscience at early school age, including observations of moral conduct, moral cognition, and moral self. The findings are discussed in view of the increasingly appreciated importance of temperament for critical aspects of socialization.

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