We ask three questions: What are the components of young children’s conscience? How are they organized? How does early conscience develop? We discuss the changing perspectives on each of those questions. We describe the shift from a focus on a single component of conscience (moral emotions, conduct, cognition) to a growing emphasis on their integration; from a view of conscience as loosely organized to a view of a coherent system of causally related components; from a focus on older children and adolescents to young toddlers and preschoolers; and from a top-down view of parental discipline immediately following child misbehavior to a focus on mutual processes between the parent and the child that occur in multiple socialization contexts and are shaped by the history of the parent-child relationship and the child’s individuality. We conclude by outlining new directions for research on early conscience.
Kochanska, Grazyna and Aksan, Nazan
"Conscience in Childhood: Past, Present,
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 50
, Article 8.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol50/iss3/8