ERIC Number: ED230295
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
The Effects of Recency and Story Content on Children's Moral Judgments.
Moran, James D., III; McCullers, John C.
To investigate the effects of recency and specific story content on the development of moral reasoning, 16 stories were read to children at ages 4, 7, and 11 years and to college freshmen (a total of 24 participants per age level). Stories contained either positive or negative intention and either positive or negative consequences in one of four situations: rule breaking, property damage, property damage with peer interaction, or injury to a person. At each age level, half of the subjects heard stories with the intention first and the consequence second, and half heard them in the reverse order. Analyses confirmed that, in general, younger children judged on consequence, whereas older children utilized intention. However, 4- and 7-year-olds were influenced by whether intention or consequence occurred at the end of the story. In addition, on stories containing intentional injury to a person, the younger children took intention into account and made judgments similar to those of the older age groups. The demonstration of recency effects and selected intention-based judgments in young children suggests that the traditional Piagetian view of the development of moral reasoning is an oversimplified one. (Author/MP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Consequential Evaluation; Intention; Piagetian Theory; Recency Effect; Story Content