ERIC Number: EJ778927
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Moral Judgment Development across Cultures: Revisiting Kohlberg's Universality Claims
Gibbs, John C.; Basinger, Karen S.; Grime, Rebecca L.; Snarey, John R.
Developmental Review, v27 n4 p443-500 Dec 2007
This article revisits Kohlberg's cognitive developmental claims that stages of moral judgment, facilitative processes of social perspective-taking, and moral values are commonly identifiable across cultures. Snarey [Snarey, J. (1985). "The cross-cultural universality of social-moral development: A critical review of Kohlbergian research." "Psychological Bulletin," 97, 202-232] examined Kohlberg's claims in a survey of 45 cross-cultural studies in 27 countries that used Kohlberg's dilemma method of stage assessment (the "Moral Judgment Interview, MJI" [Colby, A., & Kohlberg, L. (1987). "The measurement of moral judgment: Vol. 1. Theoretical foundations and research validation." Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press]). Snarey's review identified a basic stage trend but also the cultural specificity of Kohlberg's highest stages. As a remedy, Snarey proposed a culturally inclusive elaboration of the highest stages. Another proposed model [Gibbs, J. C. (2003). "Moral development and reality: Beyond the theories of Kohlberg and Hoffman." Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage] argued for maturity in the basic moral judgment stage trend. Gibbs' revisionist model has been associated with an alternative (dilemma-free) assessment method (the "Sociomoral Reflection Measure-Short Form, SRM-SF" [Gibbs, J. C., Basinger, K. S., & Fuller, D. (1992). "Moral maturity: Measuring the development of sociomoral reflection." Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum]). Snarey's and Gibbs's revisionist models are compared and used as frameworks for interpreting not only the MJI findings but also newer SRM-SF findings from 75 cross-cultural studies conducted in 23 countries. Despite continuing questions for research, multimethod convergence is found for common moral values, basic moral judgment stage development, and related social perspective-taking across cultural groups.
Descriptors: Maturity (Individuals), Moral Values, Value Judgment, Moral Development, Cognitive Development, Developmental Stages, Social Values, Cultural Differences, Social Theories, Cross Cultural Studies
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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