This study investigated patterns of reasoning regarding different types of moral transgressions and different measures of moral development in children 6–8 years of age (N = 130). The findings documented different patterns of reasoning for each measure and for transgressions including different moral principles. Children distinguished between their understanding of their emotional response to a transgression and the moral violation that has occurred, using much more moral reasoning when justifying act evaluations and much more self-interest reasoning when justifying emotion attributions. Children also differentiated between different types of moral violations—that is, transgressions including different moral principles. Stories about others’ welfare elicited reasoning related to others’ welfare, stories about fairness elicited reasoning related to equality/rights/fairness, and a multifaceted story elicited both types of moral reasoning.
Beißert, Hanna M.; Mulvey, Kelly L.; and Killen, Melanie
"Children’s Act Evaluation and Emotion Attribution Reasoning Regarding Different Moral Transgressions,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 64:
2, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol64/iss2/2