ERIC Number: ED258086
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-May-2
Reference Count: 0
Training Moral Reasoning without Training Morality.
Kaplan, Martin F.; Amstutz, Diane K.
One common paradigm used to study moral reasoning involves assessing the reasoning leading to choices among alternative actions, each with moral implications. Preconventional reasoning emphasizes external rewards and punishments, conventional reasoning centers on acceptance of societal rules and expectations, and postconventional reasoning is based on abstract, internalized principles of ethical behavior. To address the problems associated with the confusion between reasoning and values in moral reasoning research a group of high school freshmen responded to four nonmoral social judgment tasks. Subjects (N=32) in the training group participated in discussions which led them from simpler to more configural reasoning. Controls (N=32) responded to the same tasks without discussion. All subjects then took a moral choice task involving eight basic scenarios, each providing a choice dilemma involving conflicting moral principles. Comparison between training and control groups revealed that trained subjects were more configural in integrating information about preconventional, conventional, and postconventional outcomes in subsequent moral choice dilemmas. Although trained subjects combined the rationales in a more complex manner than did the controls, there was no tendency for trained subjects to uniformly choose more moral alternatives. These results suggest that reasoning complexity can be directly trained, and trained separately from moral values. Training complex reasoning in nonmoral tasks appeared to avoid the pitfall of inculcating moralistic values. (NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (57th, Chicago, IL, May 2-4, 1985). Research was aided by a Doctoral Fellowship Award from Northern Illinos University to the second author.