ERIC Number: ED226835
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Moral Intentionality: Children's Representation of Adult Judgments and Attribution Processes.
Saltzstein, Herbert D.; Weiner, Alan S.
Children's increasing use of intentions and motives and decreasing use of outcomes to morally evaluate action are perhaps the most researched phenomena in moral cognition. However, relatively little is known about the acquisition of the ability to make moral evaluations and the processes involved. Based on the assumption that children's spontaneous representation of adult moral judgments can provide clues concerning how such concepts develop, a series of studies was conducted that contrasted the moral judgments children make with those they attribute to adults. Results from samples of elementary school students and parents demonstrate, overall, that children's judgments of adults are harsher and more outcome-oriented than their judgments of themselves. These results do not support the idea that children learn and maintain an intentionality standard by directly learning from or modeling after adults. It appears that Piaget's centration concept is inadequate to explain this judgmental process. A more complete explanation rests on two points: First, motives constitute a content category, but intention is a structural element. Second, when persons are asked to make moral judgments of acts with discernible outcomes, they take as a corollary task the provision of a causal account for the outcome. Considering two aspects of causal attribution and how they might affect moral judgments and taking into account a multiple causal schema for judgment formation may also be helpful in explaining this problem. (RH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Critical Analysis; Developmental Patterns; Intention; Moral Reasoning; Piagetian Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (90th, Washington, DC, August 23-27, 1982).