Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Slater I 168
Cultural influences/morality/Kohlberg: A major tenet of Kohlberg’s theory (>Morality/Kohlberg) is that moral development is a universal process largely unaffected by socio-cultural practices. Research from the social domain theory perspective (Nucci, 2001(1); Smetana, 1985(2), 2006(3); Turiel, 2002(4)) contradicts this assertion, at least with reference to social conventional transgressions such as dressing inappropriately or displaying poor table manners. The evidence of socio-cultural influences is weaker with reference to moral transgressions that involve harm or injustice.
However, recent research on children’s judgments about honesty and dishonesty suggests that the socio-cultural influences are quite broad in scope, which poses a challenge to Kohlberg’s theory due to the central role honesty has played in theorizing about morality and moral development. >Injustice/Kohlberg.


1. Nucci, L. P. (2001). Education in the moral domain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2. Smetana, J. G. (1985). Preschool children’s conceptions of transgressions: The effects of varying moral and conventional domain-related attributes. Developmental Psychology, 21, 18—29.
3. Smetana, J. G. (2006). Social-cognitive domain theory: Consistencies and variations in children’s moral and social judgments. In M. Killen & J. G. Smetana (Eds), Handbook of moral development (pp.
119—153). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
4. Turiel, E. (2002). The culture of morality: Social development, context, and conflict. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.


Gail D. Heyman and Kang Lee, “Moral Development. Revisiting Kohlberg’s Stages“, in: Alan M. Slater and Paul C. Quinn (eds.) 2012. Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Kohlb I
Lawrence Kohlberg
The Philosophy of Moral Development: Moral Stages and the Idea of Justice New York 1981

Slater I
Alan M. Slater
Paul C. Quinn
Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2012


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