Moral Development (Group Activity)

They are three main theories that are said to test moral development. The three are Piaget’s Stages of Moral Development, Kohlberg’s Heinz Dilemma, and Carol Gilligan’s Theory.

Piaget’s theory was that all people develop in stages and age based. He did a study on children seeing if they could tell the difference between value and amounts. For example the instructor have two graham crackers and the little girl only had one. The instructor asked if this was fair and the little girl understood that it wasn’t because she had less; however, the instructor broke the little girl’s cracker and half making it look like they both had two crackers. The instructor again asked if this was fair and then the little girl thought it was. The same experiment was done on an older girl and she understood that it still wasn’t fair even if it looked like they each had two crackers. Just because you break one in half does not mean it is the same value.

Kohlberg did a test about a man with a sick wife but could not afford the medicine. The choices he gave to the audience was should he A) steal the medicine and not expect to get in trouble because he was saving his wife’s life B) Not steal the and let his wife pass away or C) Steal the medicine and expect whatever punishment is given for breaking the law, and based on the individual’s response Kohlberg categorized his audience.

The last theory is by Carol Gilligan. She believed that since the previous studies were done by predominantly males, then she needed to test females. She believed that men and women think and act completely different. She thought that we did not learn in stages but by what gender you were. Men were more likely to be yes or no and women thought more about people’s feelings and thought what the correct answer is by how they felt.

I do not think that there is one right theory. I can see the perspective from all three. I do not think people grow in stages and I do not think men and women are completely different or that someone is categorized by the choice they made from stealing medicine. Everyone learns differently and not one person thinks the same way as another. There may be stages in learning, but I think it is from how you were raised and brought up. Just because someone is 12 years old does not mean they understand from right and wrong. I think by that age they should, but it depends on how their guardian or parents raised them. It is not the child’s fault he didn’t know any better. I also think men and women are not the same but share many similarities. Yes, I believe women are more worried about feelings than men, but I don’t always want to talk about my feelings like girls do. That is just a stereotype that all women are feminine and all men are masculine. 


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