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Title: Children’s moral reasoning, moral emotions and prosocial behaviour : the educational implications
Author: Selfe, Amy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2752 1551
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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In the 20th century, the field of moral psychology was dominated by the assumption that moral judgements were reached exclusively by a process of reasoning (Gibbs, Basinger, Grime, & Snarey, 2007). Research ascertained a relationship between Kohlberg’s stage theory, antisocial and prosocial behaviour. However, research in the 21st century has emphasised the, “…power and prevalence of emotionally based moral intuition…” (Paxton & Greene, 2010, p.2). Theorists (Malti and Latzko, 2010) have proposed an integrative developmental perspective, in which moral emotions and moral cognition are considered to interact reciprocally over the course of development. The current study tests the hypothesis that there will be positive relationships between children’s moral reasoning, moral emotion attributions and the type of moral emotion attributions that they make, based on Tangney, Stuewig, & Mashek’s (2007) distinction between self-conscious emotions and other-focussed moral emotions. The current study tests the hypothesis that these variables will be able to predict variance in children’s scores of prosocial behaviour. Consequently, 108 7-to 8-year-olds were asked to examine two illustrated transgressions and one illustrated dilemma. Children’s moral reasoning and moral emotion attributions to the victim, victimiser and themselves as observers of moral scenarios were assessed. Additionally, 13 teachers, 12 teaching assistants and 108 parents provided ratings for children’s prosocial behaviour. Positive correlations were found between the predictor variables. Children’s scores of moral reasoning were able to predict some variance in scores of prosocial behaviour. Interpretations of the findings are discussed with regard to children’s moral reasoning, moral emotions and social behaviour. Implications for educators and educational psychologists are considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology