ERIC Number: ED205302
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Children's Sense of Justice for Criminal Offenders.
This study explored the relationship between children's sense of justice for a criminal offender and their cognitive level. Subjects were 60 children, 10 boys and 10 girls at each of the following developmental or cognitive levels: preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. Each child was individually pretested for cognitive level and subsequently administered a crime questionnaire balanced for questions with and without extenuating circumstances for the commission of a crime. Questionnaire responses were coded as retributive, distributive, or restitutive, according to the definitions of each as posited by Piaget (1965) and according to the function of the response (Damon, 1977). A fourth category of response, other, was coded if the child did not respond or said, "I don't know." Analysis of distributive responses only showed a significant difference for response by cognitive level. This difference occurred between preoperational and concrete operational groups. Children in the concrete operational group offered more distributive responses. Also, type of response (distributive vs. retributive) was predicted to be influenced by extenuating circumstances; items and results showed these items elicited more distributive responses. A significant interaction occurred as a function of cognitive level by type of item (extenuating vs. non-extenuating) for means of scores for distributive responses. These findings add further support for the theoretical link between cognitive development and moral development. (MP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Judgmental Processes; Piagetian Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Educational Research Association (4th, Philadelphia, PA, March 12-14, 1981).