Effects of discrimination training on adequacy of moral judgment


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Effects of discrimination training on adequacy of moral judgment
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ix, 137 leaves. : ; 28 cm.
Small, Linwood, 1941-
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Moral education   ( lcsh )
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Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: leaves 132-136.
Statement of Responsibility:
By Linwood Small.
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Linwood Small



To Charles Morris





I would like to express my appreciation for some of

the people who have shared the last few years with me:

Dr. James Dixon, my chairman, who has stayed with me

through all the turns that this trip has taken -- allowing

me to do what I found important, not letting me do less than

my best. I deeply value my training and friendship with


Dr. Harry Grater, who has contributed as a supervisor,

model, and friend to my professional and personal growth.

Dr. Franz Epting, who has continually raised creative

ideas about the frontiers of psychology and who has

listened as a friend and critic to many of my thoughts.

Dr. Marvin Shaw, with whom I now wish I had had much

more contact. I value the model as researcher he has set

and his interest in my project.

Dr. Charles Morris, who, in many ways and roles, has

contributed to my development as a scholar and human being.

I deeply appreciate his friendship, concern, and guidance.

He comes as close to being a Maitreyan as anyone I know.

Drs. Sidney Jourard and David Suchman, who have

opened up many new worlds for me and who have been deep and

true friends.

Virginia Walker, my typist, whom I have relied on to

put this work into its final form. I value her skill, good

judgment, and interest.

Steve Hasterok, who assisted with the study. It

relieved me immeasurably to be able to depend on him to do

the work as it had to be done.

Pam and Rod Hasterok, who helped with some of the

tedious.details and who put up with my frustrations and

shared my joys.

Judy, who, as interviewer, judge, critic, supporter,

and "exquisite corrupter" (to use Sidney Jourard's phrase),

has been truly there and with me through all the many hard

and good times. We have grown together.

And, finally, the many others -- staff, faculty, students

(including those who took part in this study), friends -- who

eased this journey in many ways and contributed to making it

a meaningful one.


ABSTRACT . . viii

INTRODUCTION .. .. .. .. 1

Moral Judgments and "Stage". . 2

Issues . . .. 3

Research on Moral Judgment .. .. .. 6

Discrimination, Intelligence, and Moral Judgments 14

Studies in Concept Formation, Conservation,
and Discrimination . ..... 17

Intellectual Development and Moral Judgment 20

Hypotheses of This Study . 22

METHOD. . . 24

Subjects . ... 24

Procedure . ... .. 24

Instruments and Training Material. .. .. 24

Pre-Training Assessment and Assignment to
Groups . . 31

Training Group Tasks .... 33

Control Group Tasks. . 35

Post-Training Assessment. . 35

RESULTS . . .. 36

Interjudge Agreement on Moral Judgment Inter-
view Scores ... . 36

Hypothesis 1 .. . 36

Hypothesis 2 . .

Moral Judgment Scale . .

Preferences for the Stages (Perspectives). .

Performance on the Training Session Tasks. .


Some Speculations on Advance .


APPENDIX A Levels and Stages of Moral Judgments

APPENDIX B Moral Judgment Interview .. ...

APPENDIX C Training Materials .

APPENDIX D Raw Data . .. .

REFERENCES . .. .. ..



. 40

. 42

. 44

. 44

S. 52

. 56

. 65

. 68

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. 80




. .

. .

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Linwood Small

March, 1974

Chairman: J. C. Dixon
Major Department: Psychology

It was hypothesized that a discrimination training

procedure would advance the level of spontaneous moral

judgments of college student Ss.

Forty-eight volunteer Ss were given the Moral Judg-

ment Scale, the Cooperative School and College Ability Test

(SCAT), and the Kohlberg Moral Judgment Interview. They

were then assigned to two groups: 12 females and 12 males

to a discrimination training group; 12 females and 12 males

to a control group. The discrimination training group was

given descriptions of the stages of moral judgments, along

with practice in identifying statements which represented

the .different stages. The control group was given tasks

which did not involve moral judgments. All Ss were then

administered the Moral Judgment Interview a second time.

The moral judgment level of the training group was

significantly advanced by the training, while the level of


the control group remained the same, with no differences

between sexes. Training group Ss improved in their ability

to discriminate over the course of the training sessions, with

some complex female-male differences appearing. No consis-

tent relationships between Ss' SCAT scores and level of moral

judgments were found.

It was concluded that relatively brief discrimination

training procedures can have a significant effect on the

adequacy of moral judgments of Ss of this intellectual level.

It was suggested that part of this effect might result from

giving Ss a way of talking about actions which they were

already performing. Possible relationships between moral

judgments and various kinds of experiences, moral judgments

and experiencing, and moral judgments and moral action were

also discussed.


The object of this study was to discover whether and

how a training procedure might affect the adequacy of the

moral judgments of college students. If they are trained

to recognize and discriminate among different ways of mak-

ing moral judgments, how might this affect the adequacy of

their spontaneous moral judgments? From the perspective of

this study, the adequacy of a moral judgment is determined

by how accurately it discriminates among the aspects of the

social situation, and how accurately it separates those

which are relevant to the making of the judgment from those

which are not.

It is thought that one of the main reasons why children

do not make more adequate moral judgments is because they do

not have the cognitive ability to make the necessary dis-

criminations (Kohlberg, 1971a, 1971b, 1974). College students

should, however, have acquired the necessary cognitive

operations. It was the hypothesis of this study that one of

the reasons that college students do not deal so adequately

with moral judgments as they might is that they have not

formed the necessary concepts and discrimination. This

hypothesis will be more fully developed after two concepts

which are basic in this approach to moral judgments are

explained and relevant research studies are summarized.

Moral Judgments and "Stage"

In the theoretical approach taken in this study, a moral

judgment is considered to be a judgment or decision about

what should be done in a situation where values conflict and

there is a possibility of harm or benefit to someone. The

value conflict can occur between individuals, between an

individual and society, or even within a single individual.

As long as the conflict involves values and questions of

harm or benefit, the decision which must be made becomes a

moral one.

Also in this approach, the nature of the decision is not

so important as the way it is made, the implicit or explicit

process of reasoning the person goes through. It has been

proposed (Kohlberg, 1969, 1971b) that these ways of making

moral judgments have definite structures or forms, and that

they succeed each other in a definite order. The form that

a person's moral judgment takes is called a stage. Piaget

(1960; quoted in Kohlberg, 1969) has described the concept

of "stage" and theories which are called "stage theories"

as follows:

1. Stages imply distinct or qualitative differ-
ences in...modes of thinking or of solving the same
problem at different ages.
2. These different modes of thought form an in-
variant sequence, order, or succession in individual
development. While cultural factors may speed up,
slow down, or stop development,they do not change its
3. Each of these different and sequential modes
of thought forms a "structured whole." A given stage-
response on a task does not just represent a specific
response determined by knowledge and familiarity with

that task or tasks similar to it. Rather it represents
an underlying thought organization,...which determines
responses to tasks which are not manifestly similar....
4. Cognitive stages are hierarchical integration.
Stages form an order of increasingly differentiated and
integrated structures to fulfill a common function.
The general adaptational functions of cognitive struc-
tures are always the same.... Accordingly, higher
stages displace (or rather reintegrate) the structures
found at the lower stages (pp. 352-353).

This study used a stage theory of moral judgments (Kohl-

berg,1969) and examined moral judgments from this perspective.

The results of Kohlberg's cross-cultural,longitudinal,

and experimental research have supported both the hypothesis

that the development of thinking about moral situations pro-

ceeds by stages and the broad characterizations of the

structure of these stages (Kohlberg, 1968, 1969, 1971b,

1974).1 Some of the empirical literature will be reviewed

after one more concept relevant to moral judgments is dis-



Moral judgments deal with many areas of concern or

clusters of values, which have been named Issues. The main

ones described by Kohlberg are given in Table 2. The con-

cept is important because a person's moral judgment may be

made at different stages on different Issues; this is par-

ticularly possible if he is in an overall transition from

one stage to the next. At the same time, his stage on a

given Issue is rarely more than one stage away from the

See Table 1 for brief descriptions of the levels and
stages of moral judgments, and Appendix A for the
full descriptions.

Table 1

Summaries of the Levels and Stages of Moral Judgments

Stage O: Premoral stage.

Preconventional Level
At this level, the person is responsive to cultural rules
and labels of good and bad, right or wrong, but interprets
these labels in terms of either the physical or the hedonis-
tic consequences of action (punishment, reward, exchange of
favors) or in terms of the physical power of those who
enunciate the rules and labels.

Stage 1: Punishment and obedience orientation.

Stage 2: Instrumental relativist orientation.

Conventional Level
At this level, maintaining the expectations of the
individual's family, group, or nation is perceived as
valuable in its own right, regardless of immediate and
obvious consequences. The attitude is not only one of
conformity to personal expectations and social order, but
of loyalty to it, of actively maintaining, supporting,
and justifying the order and of identifying with the per-
sons or group involved in it.

Stage 3: Interpersonal concordance orientation.

Stage 4: Law and order orientation.

Stage 4 1/2: Ethical relativism and egoism orientation.

Post-Conventional, Autonomous, or Principled Level
At this level, there is a clear effort to define moral
values and principles which have validity and application
apart from the authority of the groups or persons holding
these principles and apart from the individual's own iden-
tification with these groups.

Stage 5-A: Social-contract, legalistic orientation.

Stage 5-B: Higher law and conscience orientation.

Stage 6: Universal ethical principle orientation.

Adapted from Kohlberg & Turiel (1971).

Table 2

Issues of Moral Judgments

A. Rules of law (and rules of custom with quasi-legal

B. Conscience.
B Guilt, fear, anxiety, and moral character-
maintainance as motivating choice.

BII Personal blame and approbation.

BIII Obligation and morality.

BIV Decision modes and responsibility.

BV Personal ethical theory.

C. Personal-affectional roles and relations.
CII Role stereotypes and norms of good family and
-friendship roles.

C Relations of affection and concern for welfare.

D. Authority and civic order roles (where not defined
by actual law).
DII Civil stereotypes and norms of good authority
and good citizen-follower roles.
D Relations of authority, respect, and leadership.

E. Civil Rights.

F. Contract, promise, trust, and reciprocal exchange.

G. Relations of punishment and legal judgment.

H. Life.

I. Property rights and rules.

J. Truth.

K. Sexual roles and values and sexual love.

Source: Moral Education and Research Foundation (1972).

stage he uses for most of the Issues. When a person's

stage of moral judgment is being determined, it is important

to assess how he thinks about several different Issues; the

interview and scoring procedures were developed to take this

concern into account.

Research on Moral Judgment

The empirical research conducted by Kohlberg and his

associates can roughly be divided into three areas: (1)

exploratory-descriptive, in which the basic aspects and

parameters of moral judgments are discovered and delineated;

(2) correlational, in which a person's stage of moral judg-

ment is correlated with other variables; and (3) experimen-

tal, in which investigators attempt to learn about the

processes involved in stage transition by trying to advance

or lower the subject's stage. Studies from each of these

areas will be described briefly, with the major emphasis

being put on the experimental.

Exploratory-descriptive research. Kohlberg's (1958)

original investigation provided the model for this group.

He interviewed boys aged 10 to 16, asking them questions

about situations which require a moral judgment. From these

data he delineated the six stages and various aspects of

moral judgments. Some of these subjects have been reassessed

periodically (Kohlberg, 1974; Kohlberg & Kramer, 1969). An

example of the findings is that a subject's stage of moral

judgment at age 10 is a poor predictor of his stage in his

mid-twenties (r = .24), while his stage of moral judgment

at age 13 is a good predictor (r = .78) (Blatt & Kohlberg,

1974). The development of children who remain for a long

time at any one stage tends to become arrested; they must

advance fairly regularly if they are to reach the higher

stages (Kohlberg, 1969).

Descriptive research has also been done in other Ameri-

can sub-cultures and in foreign countries, such as Mexico,

Turkey, and Israel. The results support the belief that

these stages are universal, although environmental conditions

affect the rate of progress through them, as well as the

furthest point of development (Bar-Yam & Kohlberg, 1974;

Kohlberg, 1969).

This mode of research, then, has been devoted to veri-

fying the stage and sequence (Kohlberg, 1969) approach to

moral judgments, and to tracing the "natural" developmental

course of the structure of these judgments.

Correlational research. Necessary to Conventional and

Post-Conventional moral judgments is the ability to take the

role of the other persons affected by the situation. Selman

(1971) showed that 8-, 9-, and 10-year-old subjects who were

at Stage 3 and above had the ability to take another's role;

that is, they could enter into another's perspective while

simultaneously keeping their own. Being able to do this,

however, was not sufficient for Stage 3 judgments; some of

those who could take others' roles were assessed at Stages

1 and 2 on moral judgments.

Sullivan, McCullough, and Stager (1970), using 12-,

14-, and 17-year-old subjects, found a moderate but signifi-

cant correlation among stage of moral judgment, as assessed

by Kohlberg's interview, conceptual development, as described

by Harvey, Hunt, and Schroder (1961), and ego development, as

measured by Loevinger's (1966) method. Common to all of

these seems to be the formal-cognitive development so

thoroughly studied by Piaget (Kohlberg, 1971a, 1971b). The

person must be able to take perspectives other than his own

and to perform advanced logical operations in order to make

the moral judgments of the more advanced stages.

Weisbrodth (1970) examined some of the implications for

moral judgments of a person's sex and parental identifica-

tion. She found that sex differences did not affect the

level of moral judgment, and that identification with both

parents is significantly related to an advanced level of

moral judgment in males, while identification with the father

is more important for females.

Using Marcia's (1966) ego identity interview, Podd

(1969) discovered that 67 percent of those college students

who displayed Post-Conventional moral judgments had been

through and had resolved an ego identity crisis. Forty

percent of the Conventional-level subjects had done the

same, while the other Conventional-level subjects had had

no identity crisis. Most subjects who were in transition

from the Conventional to the Post-Conventional level were

found to be experiencing an identity crisis (Kohlberg &

Gilligan, 1971).


Finally, a research program by M. Brewster Smith and

his associates (Haan, Smith, & Block, 1968) has focused on

the relations among college students' stage of moral judg-

ment, their family backgrounds, some of their personality

characteristics, and their political behavior. It was

found that students who used Post-Conventional thinking were

more likely to be active in political protests than those

who used Conventional modes, that they saw their home life

as more conflictive, and that they placed a higher value on

interpersonal sensitivity, self-expressiveness, and willing-

ness to live in opposition to current social norms.

The correlational research has attempted, then, to de-

scribe relationships between a subject's stage of moral judg-

ment and other aspects of his personality and social environ-


Experimental research. Most of the experimental studies

have dealt with the effects of various verbal procedures on

the person's stage of moral judgment or with the stage which

the person says that he prefers. Two have examined behavior-

al consequences of making judgments at a certain stage. The

first of these, by Schwartz, Feldman, Brown, and Heingartner

(1969), studied some action correlates of certain stages,

as well as the correlation between stages of moral judgment

and McClelland's need for Achievement and need for Affilia-

tion. They did this by placing college freshman subjects

in two situations: one in which they could cheat for their

own benefit, and one in which they could relinquish a gain

for themselves to help a confederate. The results were as

follows: stage of moral judgment was not related to either

of the needs; subjects who were at the more advanced stages

of moral judgment cheated less than those at the less ad-

vanced; subjects at high levels of moral judgment tended to

help the confederate.

The second study which studied the relation of moral

judgment to behavior (Turiel & Rothman, 1972) put seventh-

and eighth-grade children into a situation in which they

had to administer a learning task to a confererate. Another

confederate initially administered the task, with the child

observing. The second confederate and a third then dis-

cussed whether the "learner" should be punished for making

errors, one of them using an argument one stage above the

child's own, the other using an argument one stage below.

The effects of these arguments on the child's subsequent be-

havior were then noted. It was found that neither the higher-

or lower-stage reasoning affected the behavior of the Stage 2

and Stage 3 subjects, while the reasoning at one stage above

influenced the Stage 4 subjects to act in accord with that

reasoning rather than with the lower-stage reasoning. The

arguments did not seem to influence the subjects' spontaneous

stage of moral judgment, when this was later reassessed.

The earliest experimental study within the Kohlberg

approach was one by Turiel (1966). After assessing sixth-

grade subjects' initial stage of moral judgment, he pre-

sented them with new situations and supplied them with two

responses. These responses advocated opposing courses of

action, and for any one subject both were either one stage

below, one stage above, or two stages above the subject's

own stage. Post-treatment assessment did not show strong

results, but suggested that no subjects decreased in their

stage of moral judgment, and that the only advances were

made by those who had been given statements one stage above

their own spontaneous pre-treatment stage. These results were

interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that persons can-

not understand judgments which are more than one stage above

their own stage, and that they understand but reject state-

ments at stages below their own.

Rest, Turiel, and Kohlberg (1969) replicated this study,

this time questioning their fifth- and eighth-grade subjects

about their preferences for the statements which they were

given. In addition to confirming Turiel's (1966) results,

they also found (1) that subjects consistently preferred

the statements which were one stage above their own stage;

(2) that they consistently rejected the statements at one

stage below; and (3) that they sometimes preferred and some-

times did not prefer the statements two stages above their


In a further elaboration on this theme -- investigating

the hierarchical aspects of moral judgments -- Rest (1968,

1973) studied twelfth-grade subjects' comprehension of

statements at stages above and below their own by asking

them to recapitulate statements which represented each of

the six stages. He also asked them to state their preferen-

ces by rating and by rank ordering them. He then gave his

subjects a post-treatment assessment. The recapitulations

were judged on the basis of whether they demonstrated com-

prehension of the original statement. The results were

interpreted as showing that only those subjects who used a

substantial amount (> 20%) of a stage higher than their own

major spontaneous stage on the initial assessment were able

to comprehend statements made at this higher stage. If a

subject did not use the style of thinking of a higher stage

spontaneously to some extent, at least, then he could not

comprehend it. However, all subjects were able to compre-

hend the thinking of all stages lower than their own, even

if they did not use the thinking of the lower stages in their

own spontaneous judgments. Interestingly enough, most of

the subjects said that they preferred the Stage 6 statements,

even if they did not demonstrate comprehension. The findings

were taken as supporting the argument that the stages of

moral judgments form a hierarchy, in which each succeeding

stage reorganizes and is more adequate than the lower, and

that each stage must be passed through in sequence. Those

subjects who comprehended the statements at the next higher

stage than their own tended to advance one stage.

In the above group of studies, subjects were exposed

to advanced forms of moral judgments, but they were not en-

couraged to make judgments spontaneously at the more ad-

vanced stages. In the two studies reported by Blatt and

Kohlberg (1974), however, attempts were made to teach subjects

to make advanced judgments spontaneously. In the first,


Blatt taught a Sunday school class for 12 hours -- one hour

a week for 12 weeks. In this class, he determined the modal

stage of moral judgment of his 11- and 12-year-old subjects.

He then presented to the class a situation which required

a moral judgment, making and supporting arguments which were

one stage above the class's modal level. When he believed

that the modal stage had advanced, he presented a new situ-

ation, again making and supporting arguments at the next

higher stage. It was found that subjects who indicated high

interest in the discussion made solid gains of one stage;

those who said that they were not interested did not gain.

The nature of the study did not permit the investigators to

assign causal status to either the interest or the gain.

When the study was replicated in several public school

settings, similar effects were found, although they were not

so strong. Since a later post-treatment assessment showed

that most subjects who advanced in their stage of moral judg-

ment kept the advance, it does seem that properly guided dis-

cussion methods can stimulate the development of a person's

moral judgment -- under the appropriate motivational con-


Finally, hypothesizing that peer-group interaction is

a major factor in the development of moral judgments, Mait-

land (1972, 1974) examined the effects of two types of peer-

group discussion on high school participants' stage of moral

judgment: (1) discussion about a moral situation in which

the participants had to reach consensus; and (2) discussion

about a moral situation with no consensus required. As a

control for personal reconsideration, a third group had no

discussion. She found that only those subjects in the first

type of discussion showed an advance in their stage of moral

judgment, and that this advance, for the group, was statis-

tically significant. This was taken as suggesting that con-

flict is necessary for development, and that it can be

stimulated by the conflict which occurs in peer-group dis-


Discrimination, Intelligence, and Moral Judgments

The experimental studies reviewed above have indicated

that a person may advance in his stage of moral judgment

after he has been exposed to statements or arguments based

on stages more advanced than his own. Moreover, subjects

rarely make judgments at less advanced stages even after they

have been given lower-stage statements as models. The

question thus arises as to what happens psychologically when

the person changes toward a more advanced or more adequate

way of making judgments--what psychological processes are

involved in the transition. Above, it was suggested that

judgments become more differentiated as development proceeds;

this will now be elaborated on.

The cognitive-developmental theories of Piaget are

especially relevant, because cognitive-moral judgments depend

on the cognitive-logical thinking that Piaget has been inves-

tigating. A particularly applicable concept is horizontal

Piaget (Flavell, 1963) and Turiel (1969) have made the
same argument.

d4calage. This means that a way or stage of logical thought,

first developed with regard to one area, is gradually applied

to other areas where a developmentally earlier mode of

thought had been used. For example, Piaget has found that

conservation, which is based on concrete operations, occurs

first with regard to numbers; it is later applied to mass,

still later, to volume (Flavell, 1963). The most advanced

forms of logical thought, which allow thinking about hypo-

thetical situations and sets of relations, may never be

used in some areas of a person's actions (Piaget, 1972).

What seems to happen -- given the constraints imposed

by the current stage of development -- is that the person

uses these advanced forms only as he is forced to develop

them in order to deal more adaptively with the environment.

Piaget hypothesizes that social interaction, in which the

individual is confronted with viewpoints different from his

own, is the most significant instigator of such development

(Flavell, 1963)?

Kohlberg (1971a, 1974) has stated that advance in

cognitive-logical thought is a necessary but not sufficient

condition for advance in cognitive-moral judgments; he has

also proposed the necessary relations between cognitive-logi-

cal and cognitive-moral thought. For example, the kind of

thought necessary for moral judgments beyond Stage 3 is for-

mal operational, which deals with relations among relations

All of the discussion-group studies reviewed above
used some form of such confrontation.

and, at later substages, considers actual events as one of

a set of hypothetically possible events. As opposed to a

Conventional-Level moral judgment, a Post-Conventional

judgment requires that the person be able to reflect on his

own judgments and to consider the current social order as

only one of a number of possible ones.

The simplest assumption about what happens psychologi-

cally in the transition is that there is a decalage of the

current stage of logical thought (which deals with the

physical world) into thinking about the social world. The

decalage may or may not occur; this depends on whether or

not the person is confronted with social situations and ex-

periences with which his current thinking cannot adequately

cope and which thus force him to reorganize his thought in-

to a more advanced form.

One mark of this advance is that his thought discrimi-

nates more adequately among the relevant and irrelevant

aspects of the situation (Kohlberg, 1971b; Rest, 1973). At

any level, the more advanced the moral judgment, the more

abstract are the discrimination which must be made. A

Stage 2 judgment discriminates one's own feelings from the

commands of the authorities (Stage 1). At Stage 4 1/2,

one discriminates oneself as a separate person from the

social roles assigned to him (Stage 4).4 In general, at the

more advanced stages, judgments are more "abstract" or

See the Training Manual (Appendix C) for a more com-
prehensive characterization of these discrimination.

"philosophical" (Kohlberg, 1974) than at lower stages.

Thus, it would seem that the ability to think abstractly, to

discriminate among and to form abstract concepts, would

heavily influence a person's ability to discriminate among

moral judgments of differing adequacy, as well as to produce

the more advanced judgments.

Studies in Concept Formation, Conservation, and Discrimi-

There are several recent studies in the concept learn-

ing literature, called "concept conservation" studies (Saltz,

1971), which seem relevant to the making of moral judgments.

In these, the learner is given the concept and then is asked

whether another stimulus is an instance of it. (This is

contrasted with concept acquisition studies, in which the

task is to form the concept.)

Several of these studies have found that children tend

to overdiscriminate, not to overgeneralize; that is, they

tend to restrict their usage of a concept to clear instances

of it and not to apply it in less clear ones. Only gradual-

ly do they use it in instances further removed from the

original. In one of these studies (Saltz & Sigel, 1967),

subjects of different ages were shown sets of two pictures.

Bruner (1956) has suggested that almost all concept
formation and use proceeds in this way: a person at
first uses the concept only in the context and with
the object where he learned it, later applying it to
other instances and in different contexts.

The pictures sometimes showed the same boy in different

poses, sometimes two different boys. Young children tended

to err by saying that the pictures were of different boys

when they were actually of the same person; college-age sub-

jects more frequently erred by saying that the pictures

were of the same boy when they were actually of different

ones. Sigel, Saltz, and Roskind (1967) asked children

whether a father can also be a doctor. Sixty percent of

the 6-year-olds said no, whereas only 20 percent of the

8-year-olds said no. Saltz and Hamilton (1968) asked

8-year-olds whether a father could be a drunkard. Sixty

percent of them said no -- a considerable increase from the

father-doctor transform. The results of these studies "sug-

gest that young children have fairly restricted concepts

containing relatively few attributes" (Saltz, 1971, p. 61).

The results of two other studies have shown that

younger children do not differentiate clearly among separate

dimensions of a concept. Modigliani (1969) prepared stimu-

lus cards with two types (A and B) of flower pots, each

type of pot containing various kinds of flowers. Subjects

were trained to classify the cards on the basis of the pots

(A or B). They were then shown a card which pictured only

a pot (of Type A or B) with no flower. Eighty-eight percent

of the 6-year-olds, 56 percent of the 12-year-olds,and 20

percent of the college students failed to conserve the con-

cept, saying that the card belonged in neither the A nor the

B pile. This was taken to indicate that "children appear to

incorporate uncorrelated and dispensable attribute dimensions

into their structures of the concept" (Saltz, 1971, p. 64;

emphasis deleted).

In the other study, Ervin and Foster (1960) showed

6-year-old children two balls and asked which was larger;

they then asked them which was stronger. They found a

moderate tendency for the children to correlate these two

dimensions, as they did for the pairs big-heavy and strong-

heavy. The children also tended (62 percent) to use

evaluative dimensions such as good and pretty synonymously.

These results suggested, then, that "some stimulus dimen-

sions may be sufficiently correlated in the child's early

experience that he is not capable of responding to each of

them separately (Saltz, 1971, p. 65).

Each of these studies converges on a point which is

relevant to the person's construction of his social world

and his moral judgments: that, given a stimulus (which may

be a complex social situation), a young child may hold as

synonymous (or mutually exclusive) dimensions which are

actually unrelated (good and pretty are not necessarily

correlated; a father can also be a drunkard). This

parallels Kohlberg's (1969) contention that each stage of

moral judgment represents a progressive differentiation of

the moral situation, a differentiation in which fewer of

the dimensions irrelevant to the morality of the situation

are included in the making of the judgment (also see Rest,


Thus, the ability to form and discriminate among ab-

stract concepts appears to be necessary to the making of

moral judgments, and it becomes increasingly more important

at the more advanced levels of moral judgment. To the ex-

tent that this conceptual ability is a form of intelligence,

then it can be claimed that more advanced moral judgments

require a higher degree of intelligence.

Intellectual Development and Moral Judgment

Kohlberg (1971a, 1974) has stressed the relation between

intellectual development and the levels of moral judgments

(see above, p.15). Rest (1973) provided some evidence that

a subject's I.Q. score is related to both his comprehension

and production of moral judgments, more strongly to com-

prehension than to production. However, he used whatever

intelligence measures or estimates were already available to

him; as a result, even if the scores on the different in-

struments can be considered equivalent, not all of the in-

struments seem necessarily appropriate to the kind of reason-
ing demanded in a moral judgment. A measure which more

directly taps a person's ability to form and discriminate

among abstract concepts -- such as an analogies test -- would

seem to be a more appropriate kind to use to investigate

the relation between intelligence and adequacy of moral


Rest (1968) used the aptitude score from the American
College Testing Program for 35 subjects, the composite
score of the Differential Abilities Test for five
subjects, and the scores from the Otis Intelligence
Test for four subjects.

Ability to make the appropriate discrimination does

not seem to suffice, however; concepts must be formed or

learned, or, put another way, horizontal decalage must occur.

Therefore, the person must also have experiences in which he

learns the appropriate concepts and makes the necessary

discrimination. The experiences can occur either through

confrontation with a situation in which the discrimination

must be made or through a teaching (or other vicarious)

process. It was stated above (p.12) that subjects in Rest's

(1973) study could not comprehend moral statements at stages

more advanced than their own if they did not use this more

advanced form of thinking spontaneously. There are two

possible reasons (from a cognitive perspective) for their

lack of comprehension: either (1) they were not advanced

enough in their cognitive-logical thinking; or (2) if they

had developed this, they had not formed the relevant concepts

and discrimination in the cognitive-moral area. Because

Rest's subjects were high school students and because of the

heterogenity of the measures he used, there is no firm

evidence that all of his subjects had reached the formal-

operational level of cognitive-logical development. The same

consideration applies to the studies by Blatt and Kohlberg

(1974) and Maitland (1974), in which attempts were made to

advance the level of moral judgment: their subjects were

children and adolescents, and it cannot be assumed that each

of these subjects had developed the cognitive abilities

necessary to make judgments at the more advanced levels.

Presumably, college students have developed the formal-

operational form of intelligence and thus are not limited

in this way. Thus, if they have the cognitive abilities

and still do not make the most adequate judgments possible,

one hypothesis about this state of affairs is that they lack

the appropriate concepts and criteria for discriminating

among more and less adequate judgments.

This study was designed to investigate what changes

occur in college students' levels of moral judgment when

they are given practice in discriminating among different

stages of moral judgment. The contribution of a general

ability to deal with abstract concepts to their ability to

make the more advanced moral judgments was also assessed.

Hypotheses of This Study

The hypotheses of this study were as follows:

1. As a result of being trained to discriminate among

different stages of moral judgments and to recognize state-

ments coming from these stages, college student subjects'

post-training moral judgment scores will be more advanced

than their pre-training moral judgment scores. Their scores

will also show more advance than those of subjects who

receive no training.

The results of the experimental studies cited
above (pp. 9-14) suggest that, if a subject is ex-
posed to moral judgments at a stage higher than his
own spontaneous stage, he will make an advance in his
stage of moral judgment. Consideration of the pro-
cesses of concept formation, conservation, and discrimi-
nation suggeststhat these may play a central role in
this advance.

2. On the pre-training assessment, there will be a

small positive relationship between subjects' scores on a

test of intelligence which emphasizes concept formation and

discrimination and their pre-training moral judgment scores.

The training will result in a strengthening of this relation-


Rest (1968) found a small but positive relation-
ship between measures of intelligence and subjects'
comprehension of moral statements at different stages.
A smaller but persistent relation has been found between
measures of intelligence and subjects' spontaneous pro-
duction of moral judgments (Kohlberg, 1971a; Rest, 1973).
It is assumed in this study that a person's ability
to make the developmentally more advanced judgments de-
pends on his ability to form and discriminate among
abstract concepts, which can be called one type of
intelligence. Therefore, those subjects who have a
greater ability to deal with concepts in this way should
be able to learn to make the discrimination more quick-
ly and should be able to apply them more readily to
new situations. They should also be able to apply the
new concepts and discrimination more readily to their
own judgments, and thus alter, if they see the new ways
as better, the way that they make these judgments.



The subjects were 24 female and 24 male students who

were enrolled in undergraduate psychology courses at the

University of Florida and who volunteered to participate

in this study.


Instruments and Training Material

Kohlberg Moral Judgment Interview. The Kohlberg Moral

Judgment Interview (see Appendix B) consists of descriptions

of situations in which a moral judgment is required, along

with questions which are designed to probe the structure of

S's thinking on various Issues. Since different situations

stress different Issues more heavily, several stories of

diverse content are used for a single interview. There are

two standard forms of the interview in the latest manual

(Moral Education and Research Foundation, 1973). One of

these, Form A (Stories III, I, and VII), was used in this

study. In the first interview Form A was supplemented with

Story XIII, in the second interview, Story IV. Story IV

was added to the second interview because it is an extension

of and deals with the same Issues as Story III, which was

used in the training. Story XIII was added to the first

interview to keep the number of stories in the two interviews

equal and also because of its intrinsic interest to students.

In the interview, the interviewer read the first situa-

tion to S and then asked him the questions. Other questions

were introduced to clarify answers or to probe more deeply

into S's thinking. Then the next story was read, etc. The

sessions were tape recorded and lasted, on the average, for

an hour; a few were as short as a half hour, a few as long

as an hour and a half.

The general method of scoring interview protocols is

detailed in the manual.1 In order to score directly from

the tapes, the judges changed the system slightly: instead

of scoring each protocol first for all the Stage 2 thinking,

then for all the Stage 3 thinking, etc., all units were

scored directly for the stage which they represented. This

procedure eliminated having to score each interview four


Two indices of S's level of moral judgment were derived

from his answers: a stage score and a Moral Judgment Inter-

view Score. The procedure for assigning a stage score is

explained in the manual, and it indicates which stage of

thinking S uses most in his judgments. For example, a stage

score of 4 indicates that S uses the Stage 4 structure of

thinking on two-thirds or more of the Issues. Stage mixture

is denoted by a score such as 5(4); this means that at least

Copies of the Instructions for standard scoring may
be purchased from the Moral Education and Research
Foundation, Laboratory of Human Development, Harvard
University, Larsen Hall, Appian Way, Cambridge,
Massachusetts 02138. The 1973 revision was used in
this study.

50 percent of S's Issue scores are at Stage 5 and that more

than 25 percent but less than 50 percent of his Issue scores

are at Stage 4. No overall stage score can be assigned if

no one stage accounts for at least 50 percent of the Issues.

The Moral Judgment Interview Score (MJIS), which close-

ly resembles Kohlberg's Moral Maturity Score (Blatt & Kohl-

berg, 1974; Moral Education and Research Foundation, 1972),

was designed for this study. It is a continuous index,

running from 1.0 to 5.0. To compute it, each Issue was as-

signed a weight equal to its stage score (mixed stage scores

were assigned a weight half way between the two stage scores;

for example, a stage score of 3-4 was given a weight of 3.5).

These weights were then summed and divided by the number of

Issues (six, in Form A) to obtain the MJIS. Thus, '1.0'

denoted a pure Stage 1 [(1+1+1+1+1+1)66]; '5.0' denoted a

pure Stage 5 [(5+5+5+5+5+5)16]; '3.8' denoted thinking

which, on the average, was between Stages 3 and 4 [for ex-

ample, (3+4+5+3.5+4)46]. Statistical procedures could be

more readily applied to MJIS's than to stage scores.

Two judges did the scoring; one of these was the current

investigator, and both already knew the scoring procedures.

The reliability of their scoring over all the protocols was

computed by counting all the Issues on which the judges

agreed fully (half-stage differences were considered disagree-

ments) and dividing this number by the total number of Issues

scored. In order to assign a stage score to an Issue when

there was a difference between the judges' scores, these dif-

ferences were resolved through discussion. (Interjudge

reliability figures computed by comparing assignment of

Issues to stages and similar methods has ranged from 94

percent [Turiel, 1966] to 73 percent [Blatt & Kohlberg,


Moral Judgment Scale. The Moral Judgment Scale (MJS)

was constructed by Maitland (1972) to assess in an objective

manner S's stage of moral judgment. It consists of the 15

stories used in the various forms of the Moral Judgment

Interview, with each story followed by six possible respons-

es. Each story and its responses are oriented specifically

around a single Issue, and each of the six responses repre-

sents one of the six stages. In the original scale, S is

asked to choose which of the responses is closest to his own

thinking. (For this study, he was also requested to indicate

which alternative was second closest to his thinking, and

which was furthest.) His score is obtained by summing the

numerical stage value of each statement that S chooses. Thus,

if S chooses the statement representing Stage 6 in each case,

he would receive a score of 90; if he chooses the Stage 1

statement in each case, a score of 15.

Reliability of the MJS was assessed by the test-
retest method in successive administrations of the
instrument at a ten-day interval to sixty subjects.
Public school students in grades seven to twelve formed
this sample which was evenly distributed according
to age from 12 to 10 year olds. The Pearson Product-
Moment Correlation for these administrations was
r = .83. For a sample of 22 subjects in grades 10
and 11, the test-retest reliability was r = .60
(Maitland, 1974).

A corrected split-half reliability of 0.71 and r = 0.67 by

the Kuder-Richardson formula 20 were also found.

Indirect evidence for the validity of this instrument

came from two sources: (1) by adhering closely to Kohl-

berg's theory of moral judgments in the construction of the

MJS; and (2) by comparing the MJS scores of Ss in Maitland's

study with the interview scores of a comparable group of Ss

in another study (Gilligan, Kohlberg, Lerner, & Belenky,

1971). The mean scores of the two groups were almost equal

(Maitland, 1974).

Cooperative School and College Ability Test (Series II,

Level 1, Form C) (Educational Testing Service, 1966). This

test was used in this study to obtain an index of Ss' ability

to formulate and discriminate among abstract concepts, as

well as to provide an estimate of their overall intellectual

ability. The Verbal Reasoning (V) section consists of ver-

bal analogies and the Mathematical Reasoning (M) section of

mathematical problems. The test yields three scores: Ver-

bal, Mathematical, and Total (T). While the Verbal score

appears most relevant to making moral judgments, all .three

scores were correlated with Ss' Moral Judgment Interview


Reliability data are available only for Form A of the

instrument (a parallel form of Form C). These data

[were] obtained using KR 20. Coefficients range
from .87 (Verbal, Form 2A) to .94 (Total Score,
all forms) within grades (McKie & Koopman, 1969,
p. 51).

Validity data on the Cooperative School and College

Ability Test (SCAT) were obtained in two ways. The first

was by comparing SCAT scores with school achievement.

At the grade 12 level, scores obtained in the Fall on
the Cooperative Academic Ability Test (Forms 1A and
1B of SCAT II) were correlated against rank-in-
gradutaing class. Coefficients obtained were .52,
.51, and .56 for V, M, and T, respectively. ...
SCAT II correlations with SAT scores are .83 (for V)
and .86 (for M) (McKie & Koopman, 1969, p. 52).

The second was by correlating SCAT scores with scores on

the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (this was done for

the earlier version of the SCAT).

SCAT total correlates with the Wechsler Adult Intelli-
gence Scale total at about .84 and with WAIS verbal
at about .88. Both of these correlations were obtained
on 84 eleventh and twelfth grade boys. ... In large
samples tested in a junior college, the correlations
of SCAT with the Otis Quick-Scoring Mental Ability
Tests were .77 and .81 (Green, 1965, p. 717).

Training mateiral. A training manual, which described

the basic features of seven different stages and substages

of moral judgments (1, 2, 3, 4, 4 1/2, 5-A, 5-B) was written

by the investigator. The descriptions were based on the

1972 and 1973 versions of the scoring manuals (Moral Educa-

tion and Research Foundation, 1972, 1973) and the study by

Rest (1968). In order not to prejudice Ss as to the desira-

bility or undesirability of a stage, the word "stage" was

changed to "perspective," the order of presentation of stages

(perspectives) was randomized, and all references to a

developmental hierarchy were omitted.

The manual's explanation revolved around Story III of

the Moral Judgment Interview; examples of responses to the

situation which represented the different stages were includ-

ed. Forty-two responses were written, six for each of the

seven different stages. Three of the six for each stage were

pro (for stealing the drug in Story III), three con (against

stealing the drug). Evidence for the accuracy of these re-

sponses was obtained as follows: two judges decided indepen-

dently which stage he thought each stage represented. Any

item which was identified by either judge as representing a

stage different from the intended one was rewritten. It

was then embedded in a set of items judged accurate, and

this set was given to the judges for rating. This procedure

was repeated until both judges agreed that all items repre-

sented the intended stages. Twenty-eight statements (four

at each stage or perspective) were included in the manual

itself; another 14 (two at each stage) were added for the

second training session, which also used Story III and the

same 42 responses.

For the third training session, a story about a univer-

sity protest was written by the investigator. It was intend-

ed that this story be different from Story III in order to

promote the generalization of the training effects to other

moral situations. Forty-two responses were constructed to

go with this story, and their accuracy was checked in the

same way as before.

For presentation to the judges and to Ss in their train-

ing sessions, the items were typed on 3" x 5" index cards.

On the reverse side of each card was typed (1) the perspective

that the item represented, and (2) a summary of those

characteristics which marked the item as representing that

perspective. The cards were arranged in a random order by

using a table of random numbers, and the number of their

place in the order was typed on the card. An additional

criterion for arrangement was that no two successive state-

ments might represent the same perspective (or stage).

The training manual, the training items and the "explan-

ation" side of the cards associated with Story III, the in-

structions to Ss regarding the use of the manual, and the

University Protest story and its responses are contained in

Appendix C.

Control group task materials. Different tasks were

chosen for each of the control group's three task sessions.

For the first task, a self-administered form of the

Role Construct Repertory Test (REP Test) (Bannister & Mair,

1968; Kelly, 1955) was selected; for the second, the Ways

to Live scale (Morris, 1956); for the third, a Self-Descrip-

tion Questionnaire constructed by Epting (1973). These

were chosen because, while not directly related to moral

judgments, they do stress the person's values and social

interactions, and are intrinsically interesting to do.

Pre-Training Assessment and Assignment to Groups

Group assessment. The Moral Judgment Scale (MJS) and

the Cooperative School and College Ability Test (SCAT), Form

2C, were administered to the Ss in a group setting. They

were allowed to take these tests at any time over a period

of two days. Instructions on how to take both the MJS and

the SCAT are given with each, and an examiner was present

to distribute and collect the tests and to answer questions.

Subjects were asked to respond first to the MJS, then to the

SCAT, and to complete both instruments during the same ses-

sion, if possible. Any S who did not finish in a single

session took the remainder at a later time. When each S

finished the MJS, he was asked to choose a time to be inter-


Assignment to groups. The 24 Ss of each sex were

ordered by their scores on the MJS. Then every other S

was assigned to the group which was to be trained to dis-

criminate, with the remaining Ss being assigned to the

control group.

Individual assessment. Each S was administered the

Kohlberg Moral Judgment Interview. Two interviewers, one

of them the current investigator, the other a colleague,

did the interviewing. This investigator did 28 of the

initial interviews, his colleague, 22. The instructions

that they gave Ss were these:

Many situations require moral decisions, and people
make these decisions in different ways. In the next
hour or so, I am going to try to find out how you make
decisions of this kind. I shall read you a short story
and then ask you some questions about it. There are no
right or wrong answers to these questions. How you as
an individual think about these situations is what is
important to me, so please say what you think is the
most moral thing to do in these situations. You will
note that I am tape recording this session; this is
necessary for me to study your decisions and reasons.
After I finish this study, a couple of months from now,
I shallgive you your results, if you wish. Do you have
any questions?

At this point, the tape recorder was started and the

interview begun. At the end of the interview each S was

asked to choose a time to come for the first of his three

task sessions, being informed that each of these sessions

would take about one hour. During these sessions, each S

in the training group was given the discrimination training,

and Ss in the control group were asked to complete the in-

struments described above.

Training Group Tasks

When he came for the first training session, each S in

the training group was given the training manual, which in-

cluded instructions on what to do with it. He was asked to

study it and to complete the accompanying work sheet. When

he had done this, he was given an appointment for the second

task session.

In the second task session, S was given a sheet with

the summaries of the stages as they appeared in the manual,

a copy of Story III, a set of response cards, a work sheet,

and a typewritten copy of the following instructions:

Last session you read a booklet which describes seven
different perspectives which people can take when they
make moral judgments. (These are not the only ones,
and of course each individual creates his own unique
variation. but these do seem to be the major ones.)
Now Steve" will give you (1) a sheet with the general
descriptions of the perspectives, (2) a set of cards
with statements on them, and (3) an answer sheet. The
statements are responses that different people who use
the different perspectives might make in reply to the
question at the end of the Heinz dilemma. They may
or may not agree with the response that you made.

Steve was an assistant, who conducted the task sessions.

Work with the cards this way: read the statement
on Card 01 and decide which perspective (A, B, C, D, E,
F, or G) it comes from (refer to the descriptions of
the perspectives as much as you wish to). Write your
answer on the answer sheet. Then turn the card over,
check your answer, and read the reasons why this state-
ment is said to come from this perspective. If your
answer is not the same as that on the back of the card,
put a circle around your answer and study the card and
the reasons until you feel that you could give the "cor-
rect" answer when presented with the card again. (If
you strongly disagree with the answer on the card, put
an x beside your circled answer.) Then go on to the
next card.
Continue until you have gone through all the cards.
Then tell Steve that you are ready to have him check
them with you, and he will present the cards to you,
one by one and ask for your answers.
When this is done, please sign for both your third
task session and your final moral judgment interview.
In this third and last session, you will be given another
story with cards and asked to do the same thing as you
did this time. You will also be asked to give your own
personal reactions to the different perspectives.
Please note that you are asked to sign for your
final interview first, and then to choose a time one
or two days before this to come in for the task session.
I am trying to keep the time interval between the last
session and second interview about the same for every-

The session followed the order detailed in these instruc-


The procedure for the third task session duplicated that

for the second, except that the University Protest story and

the set of responses relating to it (Appendix C) were used.

When S had finished this session, he was asked to indicate

which of the perspectives he liked most, which second most,

which least, and which he thought he usually used in his

reasoning,along with reasons for his answers. Last, he rank

ordered all seven perspectives. He was also reminded of the

time for the final interview.

Control Group Tasks

Control group Ss were given appointments in the same

way as training group Ss were given theirs. In the first

session, they were asked to complete the REP Test; in the

second, the Ways to Live Scale; in the third, the Self-

Description Questionnaire.

Post-Training Assessment

The post-training assessment consisted of the Kohlberg

Moral Judgment Interview, Form A, with Story IV inserted

between Stories III and I. The same interviewers conducted

the interviews and gave each S the following instructions:

I am going to read you short stories and ask you
questions about them again. These will be the same
stories and questions as I gave you before, with the
addition of one new story. Whether you answer the
same or differently as you did before is up to you;
there are no right or wrong answers. I am trying
to find out how you as an individual think about these
situations, so please say what you think is the most
moral thing to do. I shall also, as before, ask you.
for your reasons for saying what you do. Again, I
shall be tape recording. Do you have any questions?

Insofar as was possible, each S was assigned to the in-

terviewer who had seen him before. Because of schedule

conflicts and restrictions, this investigator saw four of

his colleague's interviewees -- two males from the control

group and one female and one male from the experimental group.

When the interview was over, S was asked to leave his

address and telephone number so that he could be notified

when the data had been analyzed and the study completed.

He was also invited to return during the week after the last

interview to learn about the investigator's purposes and the
reasons why the various procedures were used.


Interjudge Agreement on Moral Judgment Interview Scores

Interjudge reliability on the Moral Judgment Interview

Scores (MJIS's) was examined by comparing the judges' assign-

ment of stage scores to individual Issues. ("Ambiguous"

scores [see Moral Education and Research Foundation, 1973]

were ignored in making the comparison.) Since there were

48 Ss and 14 Issues per S to be rated, the total number of

comparisons was 672. Of these, the judges assigned the same

stage score to 582 and disagreed by one-half stage on 80,

by one stage on 7, and by two stages on 3. Thus, taking all

disagreements (90) into account, the judges reliability was

87 percent.

Indirect evidence for the reliability of their scoring

also came from the statistically significant difference be-

tween the interview scores of the control group and

experimental group.

Hypothesis 1

Hypothesis 1 predicted that the post-training MJIS's

(MJIS2's) of the training group would be more advanced than

their pre-training MJIS's (MJIS 's), and also more advanced

than the MJIS2's of the control group.

Prior to the main analyses, a t test for related pairs

was performed on training group Ss' post-training stage

scores for Story III and Story IV. The result was not sig-

nificant (t = 0.10; df = 23). The same test on control group

Ss' stage scores was also not significant (t = 0.87; df =

23). Hence, it may be inferred that training on Story III

did not specifically affect Ss' responses to this story,

since they achieved the same scores on a different story

which centers on the same Issues. Because there were no

differences between these scores, and to keep the pre- post-

scores used in the analyses comparable, only the stage scores

from the six Issues of Form A were used in computing the


A 3-way (treatment x sex x pre-post) analysis of variance

with repeated measures on the pre-post factor was performed

on Ss' MJIS 's and MJIS2's. The results are summarized in

Table 3. They show that the overall mean MJIS2 was signifi-

cantly greater than the overall mean MJIS1 and that there was

a significant interaction between the pre-post factor and

the treatment factor. F-tests for simple effects (Bruning &

Kintz, 1968, pp. 119 120) showed that the training group

changed significantly (F = 53.93; df = 1, 44; p <0.001), while

the control group did not change (F = 0.69; df = 1, 44; >

0.1). To check for possible initial differences between

females and males and between the training and control groups,

a separate 2-way (treatment x sex) analysis of variance was

performed on Ss' MJIS 's. The results are displayed in Table

4; they show that there were no significant differences

either between treatment groups or between sexes prior to

Table 3
Summary of the Analysis of Variance on the Subjects'
Pre-Training and Post-Training
Moral Judgment Interview Scores, by Treatment and Sex

Source SS df MS F

Treatment (T) 1.50 1 1.50 2.31

Sex (S) 1.82 1 1.82 2.88

Tx S 0.00 1 0.00 0.00

Errorb 27.69 44 0.63 -

Pre-Post (P) 1.98 1 1.98 33.40

P x T 1.26 1 1.26 21.21

P x S 0.00 1 0.00 0.06

P x T x S 0.00 1 0.00 0.01

Error 2.61 44 0.06 -

P <.001

Table 4

Summary of the Analysis of Variance on the
Pre-Training Moral Judgment Interview Scores
of the Two Treatment Groups


Treatment (T)

Sex (S)

Tx S





16.42 44










the training. The means and standard deviations for the

different groups on their pre- and post-training MJIS's

are displayed in Table 5.

These results strongly support Hypothesis 1: that Ss

in the training group did advance their level of moral judg-

ments and that this change was due to the effects of the


Some information about how many Ss changed, and how

much, may give more meaning to these results. In the train-

ing group, one S's MJIS decreased 0.1 stage, five Ss' MJIS's

increased 0.1 or 0.2 stage, nine Ss'MJIS's increased 0.3 to

0.5 stage, and nine Ss' MJIS's increased more than 0.5 stage.

In the control group, two Ss MJIS's decreased 0.3 stage or

more, eight Ss' MJIS's decreased 0.1 stage, four Ss' MJIS's

remained unchanged, four Ss' MJIS's increased 0.1 or 0.2

stage, and six Ss' MJIS's increased 0.3 stage or more. Thus,

in the training group, the MJIS's of 18 Ss increased one-

third of a stage or more, while the MJIS's of six remained

essentially unchanged. In the control group, the MJIS's of

two Ss decreased by one-third of a stage or more, the MJIS's

of six increased by one-third stage or more, and the MJIS's

of 16 remained essentially unchanged.

Hypothesis 2

Hypothesis 2 predicted a small positive relationship

between Cooperative School and College Ability Test (SCAT)

scores and MJIS's. It also stated that this relationship

would increase more for Ss who received the training than

Table 5

Means (M) and Standard Deviations (s) of
Moral Judgment Interview Scores

the Groups'

Female Male Total

First Interview

M 3.2 3.5 3.4
Training s 0.63 0.61 0.63
N 12 12 24

M 3.2 3.5 3.3
Control s 0.65 0.54 0.60
N 12 12 24

M 3.2 3.5 3.3
Total s 0.63 0.57 0.61
N 24 24 24

Second Interview

M 3.7 4.0 3.9
Training s .0.57 0.68 0.63
N 12 12 24

M 3.3 3.5 3.4
Control s 0.55 0.42 0.50
N 12 12 24

for control group Ss.

Various Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients

were computed; the results are displayed in Table 6. The

only two significant results occurred for the males of the

control group: between their SCAT-M and MJIS1 scores and

their SCAT-M and MJIS2 scores. Because these coefficients

were not significant for the males in the training group and

because the sample was small, these results are viewed with


To check the initial equivalence of the groups on the

three SCAT scores, three 2-way (sex x treatment) analyses

of variance were performed. None of the F-values reached


Thus, it may be tentatively concluded that, with this

population, the kind of intelligence measured by the SCAT

does not play a significant role in determining the level of

a person's moral judgments. Because of the small number of

Ss, however, the hypothesis cannot be considered adequately


Moral Judgment Scale

A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was

conputed between Ss' scores on the Moral Judgment Scale and

their MJIS1's. The result was not statistically significant

(r = 0.17, df = 46). Neither were significant results ob-

tained when coefficients for the males' scores (r = .30,

df = 22) and the females' scores (r = .21, df = 22) were

calculated separately.

Table 6

Correlation Coefficients of the
Subjects.' Moral Judgment Interview Scores and
Cooperative School and College Ability Test (SCAT) Scores

First Interview Second Interview

Control Group Subjects

Female 12 .12 --02 .06 .02 -.00 .01

Male 12 .05 .69 .47 -.12 .66 .34

Total 24 .05 .28 .07 -.07 .25 212

Training Group Subjects

Female 12 .18 .13 .17 .29 -.07 .11

Male 12 .50 .22 .41 .47 .36 .46

Total 24 .33 .20 .30 .38 .17 .31

All Subjects

Female 24 .14 .05 .11 .11 -.04 .03

Male 24 .29 .43 .43 .24 .39 .36

Total 48 .21 .23 .26 .16 .17 .19

verbal Reasoning

Mathematical Reasoning

* <.02

Preferences for the Stages (Perspectives)

Training group Ss' preferences for the various stages

were as follows; eleven most preferred Stage 5-B (Perspec-

tive G), seven most preferred Stage 5-A (Perspective E), five

most preferred Stage 4 1/2 (Perspective A), and one most

preferred Stage 2 (Perspective F). Second choices were six

for Stage 5-B, nine for Stage 5-A, eight for Stage 4 1/2,

and one for Stage 3 (Perspective D). When asked to name

which stages they liked least, nine said Stage 1 (Perspec-

tive C), three said Stage 2 (Perspective F), two said Stage

3 (Perspective D), seven said Stage 4 (Perspective B) and

one said Stage 5-B (Perspective G). Two Ss gave multiple

answers which were not classifiable. Thus, with two ex-

ceptions, Ss most preferred the three highest stages; the

least preferred stages were Stages 1 and 4, with several

votes for the intervening ones.

Asked to say which perspective they thought they used

in their own thinking, Ss gave the following answers: one

claimed Stage 4, six claimed Stage 4 1/2, five claimed

Stage 5-A, and twelve claimed Stage 5-B. With one exception

(S 47), Ss believed that they used the stages which they

most preferred. Almost unanimously, then, Ss believed that

they were using the three highest stages.

Performance on the Training Session Tasks

A 2-way analysis of variance (sex x trials) with repeat-

ed measures on the trials factor was performed on the number

of correct responses made by training group Ss in Task Ses-

sions 2 and 3 (see Table 7). There were two trials per ses-

sion, or four trials in all. The results showed a signifi-

cant difference on the trials factor and significant inter-

action effects. The means and standard deviations for the

groups are contained in Table 8.

F-tests for simple effects (Bruning & Kintz, 1968)

were performed to see if the groups actually improved. The

results showed that each group improved significantly

(females: F = 133.51, df = 3,66, <.001; males: F = 65.31,

df = 3,66, < .001). One-way analyses of variance were

done between the scores of the female and male groups for

each trial, both to check for equivalence of groups on Trial

1 and to compare them on the subsequent trials (Bruning &

Kintz, 1968, pp. 122 123). The results of these analyses,

summarized in Table 9, show that the groups differed signifi-

cantly only on Trial 4. Hence it may be tentatively con-

cluded that both groups learned to discriminate better due

to the training, and that the females performed better than

the males. This conclusion must be tentative because dif-

ferent materials were used on different trials, and because

some of the improvement might have resulted from becoming

familiar with the nature of the task.

Various Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients

were computed between Ss' performance on the training session

tasks and their MJIS's. The results of the correlations be-

tween Ss' MJIS's and the number of correct responses they

gave on Trial 1 and Trial 4 are displayed in Table 10. There

Table 7

Summary of the Analysis of Variance on the
Task Session Scores of the Training Group Subjects

Source SS df MS F

Sex (S) 98.01 1 98.01 1.64

Errors 1313.98 22 59.73 -

Trials (T) 369.53 3 123.18 175.22

T x S 517.32 3 172.44 245.29

Error 46.40 66 0.70

2 <.001

Table 8

Means (M) and Standard Diviations (s) of the
Task Session Scores of the Training Group Subjects

Task Session 2 Task Session 3
Group Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Trial 4

Females M 28.9 32.2 31.9 35.8
s 3.31 4.92 3.50 3.44

Males M 27.5 31.8 30.0 31.4
s 6.29 3.81 5.38 4.89

Total M 28.2 32.0 31.0 33.6
s 4.97 4.31 4.54 4.69

Table 9

Summaries of the Analyses of Variance on the
Performance Scores of the Female and Male
Training Groups for Each Trial of the Task Sessions

Source SS df MS F

Trial 1

Sex 12.04 1 12.04 0.48
Error 555.92 22 25.27

Trial 2

Sex 1.04 1 1.04 0.05
Error 425.92 22 19.36

Trial 3

Sex 22.04 1 22.04 1.07
Error 452.92 22 20.59

Trial 4

Sex 112.67 1 112.67 6.30
Error 393.17 22 17.87

, <.025


Table 10

Correlation Coefficients of Subjects' Number of
Correct Responses on Trials 1 and 4 with
Their Moral Judgment Interview Scores

First Interview Second Interview

Group N Trial 1 Trial 4 Trial 1 Trial 4

Female 12 -.18 .18 -.20 -.09
A*** A* **k **
Male 12 .75 .77 .79 .60

Total 24 .36 .39 .43 .20

**p <.02

p <.01

is a consistent significant correlation between male Ss'

scores and the number of correct responses they made. These,

however, are viewed with caution because of the small sample


Improvement scores were obtained by subtracting the

number correct on Trial 1 from the number correct on Trial

4. (For 15 of the 24 Ss this represented the maximum dif-

ference in their scores; for five others, their maximum was

only one more than this score.) Table 11 shows the results

of correlating these scores with Ss' MJIS's and with their

change in MJIS's. None of the correlations were signifi-


Table 11

Correlation Coefficients of Subjects' Improvement
on the Discrimination Training with Moral
Judgment Interview Scores and Change in Moral
Judgment Interview Score

Group N First Interview Second Interview Change

Female 12 .16 -.09 -.14

Male 12 -.22 -.47 -.48

Total 24 -.02 -.27 -.29


The apparent effectiveness of the training procedures

reinforces the results of the previous studies by Turiel

(1966), Blatt and Kohlberg (1974), and the others who have

attempted directly to alter their subjects' levels of moral

judgment. The lack of a relationship between concept dis-

crimination test scores and moral judgment interview scores

also provides guarded support (because of the restricted

intellectual range of the population and the small sample

sizes) for Rest's (1973) contention that, while advanced

intellectual abilities may be necessary for the more ad-

vanced levels of moral judgment, they are by no means


This study had much in common, procedurally, with the

experimental studies described earlier; the critical dif-

ference lay in the attempt to teach the conceptual struc-

tures of the stages directly. Subjects were not just given

statements which represented different stages, nor were they

engaged in discussions carried on at a stage set by the

group leader. Rather, they were given written descriptions

of what the abstract structures of the stages were, how these

structures appear through several different aspects such as

laws, conscience, duty, etc., and, through.examples, how they

are manifested. What was not given was the claim and the

reasons why certain stages are more adequate than others.

Moreover, the subjects carried out the training themselves,

having only brief contact with an assistant who knew little

about the hypotheses of the study and what the students were

to get from it -- only that they "should" try to get as many

correct answers as possible on the tests. They were exposed

to these materials three different times for about an hour

each time; they were given no practice in formulating their

own statements, being asked only to discriminate among al-

ready written statements. And still, as a group, they changed

significantly and uniformly toward a more advanced way of

making moral judgments.

Learning to discriminate to a high degree of accuracy

does not seem to be the basic cause of the change. To be

sure, for the males, their level of moral judgment seemed to

be directly related to the level of their performance on the

training tasks; however, neither their performance scores

nor improvement in performance was related to the change in

their level of moral judgment. Moreover, there were no such

significant results for the females. Since one female (S

30) attained the maximum possible score on the second moral

judgment interview while another female (S 31) made the

maximum performance score on the fourth training trial, it

may be the case that ceiling effects were depressing the

females' correlations. The very small coefficients make this

seem unlikely; however, no definitive statement may be made

because of the small number of subjects in each group. These

female-male differences suggest that some complex sex dif-

ferences might be present, but the nature of these cannot

be inferred from the data. In sum, it seems highly improbable

that the subjects' improved performance on the tasks was

related to their improvement in adequacy of moral judgment.

The central factor in the subjects' change, then, seems

to lie in being exposed to the kinds of reasoning used by

the different stages, especially those at stages more ad-

vanced than the subjects' own; this exposure is what this

study had in common with the others in which subjects have

advanced their levels of moral judgment. Moreover, it does

not seem to matter whether the structure is given implicitly

through sample responses (as in the studies by Blatt and

Kohlbergil974 ], Rest [1973] and Turiel [1966], for example),

.or whether it is made explicit, as in this one. Advances are

made -- not by all, but by many.

Consideration of the subjects' preferences adds another

dimension. Although the stages were presented in an equally

favorable way, it is clear that the subjects did not prefer

them equally. Most preferred were the three most advanced

(Stages 4 1/2, 5-A, 5-B); least preferred was Stage 1 (fol-

lowed closely by Stage 4; it is as if the subjects were re-

jecting Piaget's [1948] heteronmous orientation). As

Kohlberg (1969) has claimed and as Rest (1973) found, people

prefer the more advanced stages when they are given the oppor-

tunity to choose among the whole range.

One might entertain the hypothesis, then, that what

subjects have found in these descriptions or sample state-

ments is a way of thinking which is more advanced and ade-

quate than their own. What then happens is that the person

uses the new conceptual tools or structures he has been

offered to reorganize his thinking. This conclusion has

been reached in the previous studies in which change occurred;

but in none of them had such intellectually sophisticated

subjects been given the opportunity to choose from among the

entire range of possibilities. That they did choose the

more advanced stages supports the contention that these are

truly more advanced and sophisticated. It also suggests that

some modeling may be involved.

It seems safe to conclude, then, that when exposed to

more advanced forms of thinking, people prefer and assimi-

late these, while not being affected by forms less developed

than their own. Relatively brief exposures can have power-

ful effects.

This brings us to the converse side of this result: the

changes were not nearly so large as was theoretically possible.

Only one subject (S 30) showed the highest form of thinking

possible under this scoring system, advancing 0.9 stage to do

so. The largest gain was 1.2 stages (made by S 40). Both

had shown some Stage 5 thinking on the first interview.

This small advance is consistent with previous findings.

The gains of the subjects in Turiel's (1966) study were

questionable ones; the average increase of the subjects'

scores in Blatt and Kohlberg's (1974) study was about two-

thirds of a stage; the increase in the scores of Maitland's

(1973) subjects, though statistically significant, was not

large, probably no more than one-third of a stage. The

average advance of about a half stage by the subjects in

this study keeps good company.

The subjects in the earlier studies were children and

adolescents and it might be expected that their gains would

be limited by their cognitive development. However, these

college students -- at least the majority of them -- should

not be so limited, and because of the way the training was

carried out, they were more thoroughly introduced ("brain-

washed," as one subject put it) to the stages than the sub-

jects of most of the other studies. It is to be remembered,

also, that, with one exception (S 47, who made a high-stage

second choice), all preferred the most advanced stages and

that they all saw themselves as using these higher stages.

Yet few of them actually did use them -- and only those

(again with one exception [S 35]) who used Stage 5 thinking

in the first interview used it in the second. The subjects

did not skip stages; they did not seem to be able to take on

structures of thought that they were not yet using, even

though they were given descriptions, even though they thought

that they were using them. Why, then, did they not advance


Some Speculations on Advance

The motivation to change. Writing about the process of

forming new structures of thought, Langer (1969) has sug-

gested that a motivational component must be present: the

person has to experience some dissatisfaction with his cur-

rent way of thinking before he will change it (or allow it

to change). This study supplied some anecdotal data which

are consistent with this: one control group subject (S 20)

who showed a gain (0.3 stage) remarked in the second inter-

view that a current class, whose content was very relevant

to questions of morality, had opened up a whole new world

for her. Another control group subject (S 2) who showed a

large gain (0.8 stage) prefaced her first answer in the

second interview with the statement, "I've been thinking this

thing over...." Between the two interviews a training group

subject (S 36) told Story III to various people to see what

they thought about the situation; she advanced 0.4 stage.

Another training group subject (S 48) remarked after the

second interview that he was not nearly so settled with his

answers to the questions this time as he had been the first

time; he advanced 0.7 stage. A third training group subject

(S 41), who said that he really did not learn anything,

gained only 0.3 stage.

Unfortunately, the subjects were not questioned direct-

ly about their interest or involvement or consideration of

the topics outside the interviews, so there were no systematic

data about the experiences of those who changed compared to

the experiences of those who did not. Blatt and Kohlberg

(1974) did, however, question their subjects about their

interest in the discussion programs; only those who showed

interest gained, the highest interest going with the most

substantial and lasting gains.

It appears, then, that Langer is speaking to an impor-

tant point when he says that the person must show some dis-

satisfaction with his current mode of functioning or some

interest in the change process if change is to occur.

Whether this change is due primarily to greater interest in

exploring inconsistencies, obtaining consensual validation

for one's thoughts, rehearsal, etc., appears to be a fruit-

ful area for further research.

"Action" and advance. Piaget (Flavell, 1963; Piaget &

Inhelder, 1969) thinks of cognitive structures as forms of

action; they are one of the ways that certain organisms

enter into commerce with their environments. He (1948) has

also suggested that reflective thought lags behind the forms

of action which we actually use in our environmental trans-

actions: that is, we can do something or act in a certain

way before we can talk about it.

If this is the case, we can speculate about what happens

to people who are exposed to alternative ways of thinking

about moral situations, and why the measurable gains in their

thinking over short periods of time are small. It might be

hypothesized that the subjects who change have already formed

the more advanced ways of relating to moral situations; what

exposure to the more advanced forms of thought does is to give

them ways to think reflectively about (and to talk about) a

knowing which is theirs already. This investigator, who

interviewed and judged the tapes, was struck by how little

the actual words used by the training group subjects changed

from the first session to the second session; only in a few

instances did"marker" words, like "principles" (Stage 5-B)

or "contract" (Stage 5-A), appear -- and these were often

used in a lower-stage context. The subjects, for the most

part, seemed not so much to have gained a new vocabulary as

to have formed a new way of using the vocabulary they had.

(It could be interesting to do a study which directly involved

looking at the differences in the language of people who


This supposition -- that a reflective language is

brought to bear on forms of action already present -- can

also help to explain why the advance is, in most cases, not

large. Reflective (or symbolic) thought is also a form of

action, and as such must interact with the organism's other

modes of action. It is hard to imagine that symbolic thought

would lag too much behind the more immediate action, if, as

Kohlberg (1971b) has proposed, the more advanced forms of

thought are more adequate to deal with situations. Thought

would be kept "up to date" by the person's own reflections on

what he did, and why, and the challenges that occur in social

interactions (Flavell, 1963; Maitland, 1974). Such a suppo-

sition also adds meaning to Rest's (1973) finding that his

subjects could demonstrate comprehension of statements which

were one stage in advance of their own spontaneous stage.

Some forms of their action may have reached that level,

while their spontaneous thought had not.

It is interesting to note that these speculations come

close to a theme central to Gendlin's (1962) work: how we

come to be able to speak about something which we already --

but not reflectively -- know. This topic will be brought

into the discussion shortly.

Experiences, experiencing, and advance. Kohlberg (1974)

has proposed that certain life experiences are necessary if

a person is to advance to the Post-Conventional Level of

moral judgments. The stages prior to and including the Con-

ventional Level have structures directly analogous to the

stages of cognitive-logical operations; he thus believes that

moral thought structures can develop through vicarious ex-

periences (such as peer-group discussions). However, to

advance beyond the Stage 4 forms, it is necessary actually

to live in and through situations in which one is responsible

for himself, for others, and for the lasting consequences of

choices in moral matters. (It is also necessary to think

about one's actions and responsibilities.) To support this,

he has offered longitudinal data which show that none of his

college student subjects attained a predominantly Stage 5

orientation until after they had finished college. (There

was one person [S 30]in this study whose thinking was pure

Stage 5 in the second interview; she had recently returned

to college after being out for several years.)

If this is true, then we need to look to the life ex-

periences of those people who go beyond the Conventional

Level if we are to find out how they get there. Theories

have been offered -- for example, Kohlberg's (1974) state-

ment and Erikson's (1963) scheme. Outside of Kohlberg's

longitudinal study, however, no empirical data have been

gathered to investigate this development. Research in this

area will not be easy, because it must study the person as

he is vitally involved with the actual living of his life;

situations which do not personally involve him will not yield

the necessary data, if Kohlberg and Erikson are correct. It

would seem that longitudinal, naturalistic studies might be

most appropriate. Laboratory studies which use certain forms

of role-playing and modeling might also be effective; however,

they would have to extend over time and might well take on

the character of those few well-designed psychotherapy re-

search endeavors.

The relations we would be searching for are those be-

tween the events in a person's life and his development. None

of this will make sense, however, unless how the person him-

self understands these events and relates them to his own

life is known. For example, if he sees an event as not in-

volving his own concerns, the event will probably not affect

his development at all.

If a person is to develop, then, it is important that

he allow himself to be affected by the situations he lives

through (and personality factors become important here). It

would also seem important that he have access to his own pre-

verbal or preconceptual experiencing (Gendlin, 1962, 1964)

-- if,as has been suggested above, this is the level at which

advance first occurs.

This investigator has found it fascinating that a theory

of the valuing process put forth by Rogers (1964) and Gend-

lin (1967) has so many points of contact with Kohlberg's

(1974) latest statement. Especially compelling is Roger's

contention that, when a person allows himself unrestricted

access to his immediate experiencing and has the abilities

to pay attention to himself in this way, then he will come

to realize and live values which are universal to all men

-- values which simultaneously promote the interests of the

individual and the social group. This sounds amazingly

close to the orientation of the Post-Conventional Level of

moral judgments. Whether or to what degree this actually

does happen is a topic for theorizing and research which in-

clude both of these highly significant orientations.

Moral judgments and moral action. The final topic in

this chapter touches on the relation between moral judgments

and moral action: what relations, if any, they may have

with each other. Studies which have compared what people

say and what they do have found very little relation

(Wright, 1971). However, these studies have looked more at

the content of what was said and not at the structural as-

pects of the thinking. One might expect, for example, that

a person who uses Conventional Level thought would verbalize

the rules and statements which are approved (or given lip

service) by his culture, while in his actions he would fol-

low the overt or covert expectations of his culture or social

group -- whether or not these agreed with his verbalizations.

Thus, a person who uses Conventional-Level thinking might

say that one should not steal or lie, but if keeping his

reputation with his peers demanded that he steal, he probab-

ly would. On the other hand, the person who uses the Post-

Conventional Level of thought is much less tightly bound to

the immediate situation; he can see the various implications

of his actions more clearly, in terms of their effects on

himself and on the moral code or social contract to which

he has consciously given his consent. Studies dealing with

the relation between the person's structure of moral thought

and his actions are few and inconclusive (for example, Tu-

riel and Rothman [1972] included no subjects with Post-Con-

ventional thinking). A line of research which uses subjects

at all different levels of moral judgment and compares their

verbalized values with their behavior in a variety of situa-

tions would appear to be necessary.

In sum, studies involving moral judgments can go in all

sorts of directions. Some of the most significant of these,

however, for this investigator involve two: (1) looking for

the life situations which people (must?) live through if

they are to make the transition from Conventional to Post-

Conventional thought, along with their experiencing of these

events and the transition; and (2) the relations of moral

thought to moral action at these levels. In man's struggle


to improve himself and the world he lives in, these concerns

seem central.


The main conclusion of this study is that the train-

ing group subjects made significant advances in their

spontaneous moral thought after relatively brief exposures

to alternative forms of moral thought. That the control

group, as a whole, did not change supports the claim that

something in the training experience caused this.

On their moral judgment scores, males and females were

not significantly different, before or after training.

Both sex groups also improved significantly in their per-

formance on the discrimination tasks in the training sessions,

with the females improving more than the males. However,

the amount of improvement was not related to the subjects'

levels of moral judgment or to their change in level of

moral judgment. The complex differences which appeared be-

tween sexes in their performances suggested that the males'

level of moral judgment was closely related to their ability

to discriminate among the training items, while no such re-

lationship held for the females. Neither the basis nor the

significance of these differences could be inferred from

the data.

No consistent relationships between adequacy of moral

judgment and verbal or mathematical reasoning abilities were

found. It seems that, at this intellectual level, differ-

ences in intelligence have little relation to differences in

level of moral judgments.

Since the training group subjects advanced in the

adequacy of their spontaneous moral judgments without any

training to formulate statements of their own, some possible

explanations for this advance were discussed. Basic to

these was the proposal that the subjects may have been al-

ready acting at the more advanced levels while their re-

flective thought had lagged behind. What the training ex-

perience did was to give them the new and more adequate

ways of thinking about their actions and reasoning that

they needed to make judgments at this level.

No matter what their assessed level of moral judgment,

subjects preferred and claimed to use the most advanced

stages. No satisfactory explanation for the discrepancy

between their assessed level and the level they claimed to

use could be found. This same phenomenon, however, appeared

in Rest's (1973) study, and raises the possibility that the

subjects had an understanding which they could not express.

Many different kinds of experiences can effect an ad-

vance in the adequacy of a person's moral judgment, as

previous studies have shown (for example, Blatt & Kohlberg,

1974; Kohlberg, 1974; Maitland, 1974; Rest, 1973). The

results of this and other studies suggest that learning to

discriminate among different ways of making moral judgments

and acquiring the means to talk about what one can already

do are basic to this advance.


Levels and Stages of Moral Judgments


Levels and Stages of Moral Judgments

Stage O: Premoral stage. The person neither under-
stands rules nor judges good or bad in terms of rules and
authority. Good is what is pleasant or exciting, bad is
what is painful or fearful.. He has no idea of obligation,
should, or have to, even in terms of external authority,
but is guided only by can do, and want to do.

Preconventional Level
At this level, the person is responsive to cultural
rules and labels of good and bad, right or wrong, but
interprets these labels in terms of either the physical
or the hedonistic consequences of action (punishment,
reward, exchange of favors) or in terms of the physical
power of those who enunciate the rules and labels. The
level is divided into two stages.

Stage 1: Punishment and obedience orientation. The
physical consequences of action determine its goodness or
badness regardless of the human meaning or value of these
consequences. Avoidance of punishment and unquestioning
deference to power are valued in their own right, not in
terms of respect for an underlying moral order supported
by punishment and authority (the latter being Stage 4).

Stage 2: Instrumental relativist orientation. Right
action consists of that which instrumentally satisfies
one's own needs and occasionally the needs of others.
Human relations are viewed in terms like those of the
market place. Elements of fairness, reciprocity, and
equal sharing are present, but they are always interpreted
in a physical or pragmatic way. Reciprocity is a matter
of "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours," not of
loyalty, gratitude, or justice.

Conventional Level

At this level, maintaining the expectations of the
individual's family, group, or nation is perceived as
valuable in its own right, regardless of immediate and
obvious consequences. The attitude is not only one of
conformity to personal expectations and social order, but
of loyalty to it, of actively maintaining, supporting,
and justifying the order and of identifying with the per-
sons or group involved in it. At this level, there are
two main stages.

APPENDIX A, continued

Stage 3: Interpersonal concordance or "good boy-nice
girl" orientation. Good behavior is that which pleases or
helps others and is approved by them. There is much con-
formity to stereotypical images of what is majority or
"natural" behavior. Behavior is frequently judged by
intention: "He means well" becomes important for the first
time. One earns approval by being "nice."

Stage 4: Law and order orientation. There is orienta-
tion toward authority, fixed rules, and the maintainence
of the social order. Right behavior consists of doing
one's duty, showing respect for authority, and maintain-
ing the given order for its own sake.

Stage 4 1/2: Ethical relativism and egoism orientation.
This orientation rejects but is aware of Stage 4 morality
or "society's point of view." At first sight these sub-
jects seem to be mixtures of Stages 2, 4, and 5. Their
egoism or relativism, however, is abstract and philosophi-
cal, not subjectivism, not concrete Stage 2 instrumental-
ism. Social duty is understood but questioned from the
point of view of the individual who is making a personal
decision, who can step outside society's viewpoint.
Decisions tend to be made pragmatically by balancing the
goods and haves in the concrete situation as they exist
for a) the actor, or b) a person in a role of social

Post-Conventional, Autonomous, or Principled Level

At this level, there is a clear effort to define moral
values and principles which have validity and application
apart from the authority of the groups or persons holding
these principles and apart from the individual's own
identification with these groups. This level has two
main stages.

Stage 5-A: Social-contract, legalistic orientation.
Generally this stage has utilitarian overtones. Right
action tends to be defined in terms of general individual
rights and in terms of standards which have been agreed
upon by the whole of society. There is a clear awareness
of the relativism of personal values and opinions and a
corresponding emphasis upon procedural rules for reaching
consensus. Aside from what is constitutionally and demo-
cratically agreed upon, the right is a matter of personal
values and opinion. The result is an emphasis on the
legal point of view, but with an emphasis upon the possi-
bility of changing law in terms of rational considerations
of social utility (rather than rigidly maintaining it in

APPENDIX A, continued

terms of Stage 4 law and order). Outside the legal realm,
free agreements and contract is the binding element of
obligation, in the context of considerations of welfare.

Stage 5-B: Higher law and conscience orientation.
This orientation manifests a primary concern for the uni-
versal rights or the self-development and perfection of
individuals as human beings. It recognizes the Stage 5-A
social contract but intuitively feels that individual
human beings and their rights take some moral precedence
over a societal perspective.

Stage 6: Universal ethical principle orientation. There
is an orientation to respect for human personality (treat
each as an end, not a means) and to principles of justice
(equity or moral equality of persons) as principles defin-
ing decisions and duties. As principles, the values of
respect for persons and justice are used as consistent
primary grounds of decisions which are universalizable and
which represent a universal "moral point of view." There
is a clear awareness of, and resolution of, the problem of
ethical relativity and skepticism by appeal to such univer-
salizable principles of human morality.

Adapted from Kohlberg & Turiel, 1971; Moral Education and
Research Foundation, 1972.


Moral Judgment Interview



Story III.

In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of

cancer. There was one drug that the doctors through might

save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the

same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive

to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the

drug cost him to make. He paid $200 for the radium and

charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick

woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow

the money, but he could only get together about $1,000

which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that

his wife was dying, and asked him to sell it cheaper or

let him pay later. But the druggist said, "No, I dis-

covered the drug and I'm going to make money from it."

So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to

steal the drug for his wife.

1. Should Heinz steal the drug? Why?

2. Which is worse, letting someone die or stealing? Why?

3. Is there a good reason for a husband to steal if he

doesn't love his wife?

4. Would it be as right to steal it for a stranger as

for his wife? Why?

5. Suppose he was stealing it for a pet he loved dearly.

Would it be right to steal for the pet? Why?

6. Heinz steals the drug and is caught. Should the judge

sentence him or should he let him go free? Why?

7. The judge thinks of letting him go free. What would

be his reasons for doing so?

8. Thinking in terms of society, what would be the best

reasons for the judge to give him some sentence?

9. Thinking in terms of society, what would be the best

reasons for the judge not to give him some sentence?

Story IV.

The drug didn't work, and there was no treatment known to

medicine that could save her. Her doctor knew that she

had only about six months to live. She was in terrible

pain, but she was so weak that a good dose of pain-killer

like ether or morphine would make her die sooner. She was

delirious and almost crazy with pain, and in her calm

periods, she would ask the doctor to give her enough

ether to kill her. She said she couldn't stand the pain

and she was going to die in a few months anyway.

1. Should the doctor give her the drug that would make

her die? Why?

2. The woman is sure she wants to die. Should Heinz try

to convince her and the doctor that she should stay

alive as long as possible? Why?

3. What does the husband have to do with the decision,


4. Do you think the woman should have the right to make

the decision to die or should the right to decide

be up to the doctors and the courts? Why?

5. What should the doctor do if he wants to respect the

woman's rights? Why?

6. Does a person have a duty or obligation to live when

he doesn't want to, when he wants to commit suicide?

Why? (or why not?)

7. Is mercy-killing humans any different from mercy-

killing animals? Why? Is there a difference between

animal and human life? What?

8. What kind of general guidelines concerning mercy-

killing should be set for doctors and who should set

them? Why?

9. The doctor kills the woman and is brought to court.

He is found guilty of murder. The usual life sentence

is life imprisonment. What should the judge do? Why?

10. The judge considers being lenient or letting the

doctor off. What would the judge think about the

doctor and what he did which would make him lenient?

11. From society's point of view, what is the best reason

for the judge to give the doctor a sentence?

12. From society's point of view, what is the best reason

for the judge to let the doctor go free?

Story I.

Joe is a fourteen-year-old boy who wanted to go to camp

very much. His father promised him he could go if he saved

up the money for it himself. So Joe worked hard at his

paper route and saved up the $40 it cost to go to camp

and a little more besides. But just before camp was going

to start, his father changed his mind. Some of his friends

decided to go on a special fishing trip, and Joe's father

was short of the money it would cost. So he told Joe to

give him the money he had saved from the paper route. Joe

didn't want to give up going to camp, so he thought of re-

fusing to give his father the money.

1. Should Joe refuse to give his father the money? Why?

2. Do you think there's any way in which the father

has a right to tell the son to give him the money?


3. What is the most important thing a good father should

recognize in his relation to his son? Why that?

4. What is the most important thing a good son should

recognize in his relation to his father? Why that?

5. Should a promise be kept? Why?

6. What makes a person feel bad if a promise to him is


7. Is it important to keep a promise to someone you

don't know well or are not close to? Why?

Story VII.

Two young men, brothers, had gotten into serious trouble.

They were secretly leaving town in a hurry and needed

money. Karl, the older one, broke into a store and stole

$500. Bob, the younger one, went to a retired old man

who was known to help people in town. Bob told the man

that he was very sick and he needed $500 to pay for the

operation. Really he wasn't sick at all, and he had no

intention of paying the man back. Although the man didn't

know Bob very well, he loaned him the money. So Bob and

Karl skipped town, each with $500.

1. Which would be worse, stealing like Karl or deceiving

someone like Bob? Why?

2. Suppose Bob had gotten the loan from a bank with no

intention of paying it back. Is borrowing from the

bank or the old man worse? Why?

3. What do you feel is the worst thing about deceiving

the old man?

4. Is it ever right for someone to steal from a store?


5. What is the value or importance of property rights?

6. Which would be worse in terms of society's welfare -

deceiving (like Bob did the old man) or stealing (like

Karl)? Why?

7. Would your conscience feel worse if you deceived like

Bob did or stole like Karl? Why?

8. What do people mean by conscience? What do you think

of as your conscience and what does it do?

8a. What or who tells you what is right or wrong?

9. Is there anything about your sense of conscience

which is special or different from that of most

people? What?

10. How do people get their consciences? (How did you

get or develop a conscience?)

Story XIII

A boy and a girl have a very close relationship during

their senior year of high school. Separated for the sum-

mer, they grow apart and return with very mixed feelings

about each other. One evening, feeling again their former

closeness and attraction, they go further and further and

have sexual intercourse. But afterwards the doubts about

the relationship return. A few weeks later the girl finds

that she is pregnant.

1. What would be the right thing for them to do? Why?

2. Who is responsible for making this decision? Why?

What if they disagree about the right thing to do?

3. She knows that her parents could arrange an abortion.

Would it be right or wrong for her to arrange an abor-

tion? Why?

4. She considered having the baby and placing it for

adoption as an alternative to abortion. Would that

be the right thing to do? Why?

5. The girl decided that she wants to get married and

have the baby. Is it the boy's responsibility to

marry her? Why? (If no:) What is his responsibility

to her?

6. They decide that abortion is the best solution. Is

ending the life of an unborn baby different from end-

ing any other human life? Why? What about a child


seriously defective at birth-would it be right for the

doctor to let it die? Why?

These stories raised issues about right and wrong. What

issues do you think are important? Are there any that aren't

covered by these stories?


Training Materials

Instructions for


This booklet describes different ways of making moral

judgments. Please read it carefully and do the exercises

as requested. In reading this, you do not have to memorize

the seven aspects, or anything like that, but do try to

get a sense for the way that a person would make a moral

judgment from each way of thinking. When you finish, you

will be shown a series of statements and asked to say which

perspective each comes from. But more directions then. For

now, go ahead and read the booklet.


In Europe, a woman was near death from a special
kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors
thought might save her. It was a form of radium
that a druggist in the same town had recently dis-
covered. The drug was expensive to make, but the
druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost
him to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged
$2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick
woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to
borrow the money, but he could only get together
about $1,000, which is half of what it cost. He told
the druggist that his wife was dying, and asked him
to sell it more cheaply or to let him pay later. But
the druggist said, "No, I discovered the drug and I'm
going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate
and broke into the man's store to steal the drug for
his wife.
Should Heinz have done this? Why or why not?

You have already been asked to think about this and

several other moral delimmas, and to give your judgment

about the rightness or wrongness of the action. The state-

ment that you make about a situation like this is called a

moral judgment, a decision about what to do when various

rights, values, and social rules come-into conflict.

Some psychologists who have been studying moral judgments

have discovered that different people think about such

situations in different ways. Not only do they differ

about the course of action -- for example, whether Heinz

should or should not steal the drug; they also differ over

which aspects of the situation are most important and in

the reasons they give to support their decisions. Put

another way: the situations have different meanings for

different people.

The following material is designed to acquaint you

with some of the different perspectives that people take

when they make moral judgments. For each perspective, a

general characterization will be given. Next, the manner

in which this perspective applies to seven different aspects

of moral judgment will be explained. There are

1. Rules. How does the person regard the social rules,
customs, and laws which apply to the situation?

2. Conscience. What is conscience, and what part does
it play in a moral judgment?

3. Altruism. What is the basis for showing concern
for others?

4. Self-Interest. What kinds of acts are in accord
with one's own welfare?

5. Duty. What defines one's duty or what one "should"

6. Role-Taking. Whose perspective, or how many
different perspectives, does the actor take when
making a decision?

7. Justice. What is the fair thing to do? Should
punishment be administered, and why?

Finally, responses to the Heinz dilemma, which show how a

person using the perspective might consider the situation,

will be presented.

Perspective A. Ethical Relativism and Egoism Orientation

This orientation rejects but is aware of "society's
point of view." Social duty is understood but ques-
tioned from the point of view of an individual who
is making a personal decision, who can step outside
of society's viewpoint. Decisions tend to be made
pragmatically, the social and individual gains and
losses being balanced.

From the standpoint of the seven aspects, the per-

spective appears as follows. The person making the moral


1. Rules. Realizes that society has rules to which
many individuals conform out of a sense of duty,
but places self outside of the necessity to conform
to these rules. Sees rules and individual wants as
frequently in conflict.

2. Conscience. Regards guilt and feelings of duty as
hindrances to doing what feels right to self. Con-
sidere such feelings as detrimental to personal

3. Altruism. Is aware of social expectations of
duties toward others, but rejects these and helps
others when this is in one's own best interest.

4. Self-Interest. Considers social institutions as
frequently opposed to what would be pleasurable to
self. Takes whatever action brings the most personal

5. Duty. Recognizes the existence of social conceptions
of duty, role obligations, etc., but rejects these if
they are not compatible with the desires of the self.

6. Role-Taking. Can take society's point of view and
the point of view of each of its institutions, but
primarily takes perspective of an individual self
outside any social system, with individual wishes
and needs.

7. Justice. Believes that each individual should be
given the freedom to follow his natural wants.
Otherwise rejects moral concepts.

Examples of responses that a person using this way of
thinking are as follows:

Example 1A

Whether he "should" do that isn't the question. Of
course, the stereotype is that a husband does anything
to protect his wife, but that isn't binding unless you
want it to be. Apparently he wanted to steal the drug,
so that's what's right for him.

It isLrecognized that there are social expectations, but

these are rejected in favor of what the person wants.

Example 2A

Whether you act like a "good" husband or not, whether
you're doing your "duty" or not -- these aren't relevant.
There's nothing that can tell you what you ought to do.
I wouldn't feel good if I stole the drug, so I wouldn't
do it.

Moral terms and social duties are rejected, again, being seen

as irrelevant to the self's decision.

Example 3A

There's no need to feel guilty about taking the drug.
From a social viewpoint it may be wrong, but if that's
what makes you feel good, that's what you've got to
do. The legality of it doesn't matter.

Feelings of guilt may exist, but these are seen as hangovers

from social training and are to be ignored in favor of the

self's needs.

Example 4A

I can't say what Heinz should do, but I sure wouldn't
steal the drug. Of course it would be for my wife,
and some people would say I have a duty to her as a
husband. But I don't have to live up to their expec-
tations. I just wouldn't feel right about doing it,
and that's the most important consideration.

Here it is empahsized that the only basis for morality lies

in one's own subjective feelings about what is right for or

feels good to the self.

In general, the examples demonstrate how this per-

spective consciously rejects the social viewpoint and bases

decisions on a natural self, which exists prior to role

definitions or expectations. No way is seen to reconcile

the conflict between the individual and society.

Before going on to the next perspective, please reread

the general description and summarize its contents on the


Perspective B. Law, Order, and Society-Maintaining Orientation

The orientation is to society's point of view, to the
perspective of the majority, to maintaining a stable
social system. Consequences are viewed in terms of
their impact on the group or on society. Right
behavior consists of doing one's duty, showing respect
for authority, and maintaining the given order just
because it is the order that exists.

In terms of the seven aspects, this perspective appears

as follows. The person making the judgment

1. Rules. Orients to keeping legal, religious, or
moral rules. Hesitates to make exceptions to rules
regardless of needs or motives because of "what
would happen if everyone did it," because of break-
down of social order, not because of fear. Sees
society and its rules and needs as higher than the
individual's needs.

2. Conscience. Sees right and wrong as relatively
independent of punishment and personal disapproval.
Has a concept of conscience as an internal guide to
moral decision and as something that judges the self.
The dictates of conscience are to live up to socially
accepted rules.

3. Altruism. Shows concern not only for other indi-
viduals to whom the self relates, but to society,
the nation, or its abstract institutions (such as
the government, the church, marriage, etc.).

4. Self-Interest. Recognizes that society and law must
recognize some self-interest and the maintainence of
the self's right to property, etc., even when these
rights are being used at the expense of somebody
else's welfare.

5. Duty. Considers that duty is defined in terms of
responsibilities assigned to individuals according
to their formal role in society or in its institu-
tions. Has some sense of contract or commitment to
duties defined by society.

6. Role-Taking. While sympathizing with the individual,
also takes society's views. (The judge must take
society's view and uphold society and hence cannot
act sympathetically.)

7. Justice. Does not believe in vengence, "two wrongs
don't make a right." But does believe that an
offender must pay his debt to society.

In actual judgments these aspects might appear as


Example 1B

Although Heinz would probably like to save his wife,
it's his duty to remember what the law says. What
would happen to our society if everyone thought he could
take anything he wanted?

One's primary duty is maintaining the social order. This

takes precedence over concerns about other individuals.

Example 2B

A husband has a duty to do whatever he can to protect
his wife. That's what the marriage vows say, so that's
what you do.

Established social institutions to which a person belongs

define what his duties are. Personal considerations are

less important.

Example 3B

You might get desperate and steal the drug. But you'd
feel guilty afterwards because you'd know you'd gone
against the law.

Guilt or "pangs of conscience" result from violating the

society's customs and legal or moral laws. Because these

laws are there, they should be obeyed.

Examples 4B

It would be wrong to let your wife die when you could
do something. Just look at what the marriage vows
say; they tell you what you need to know and how you
should act. It doesn't matter if you feel different.


The individual's first and foremost obligations are to keep

inviolate the rules of the institutions to which he belongs.

The person who uses this framework is very much a

society-oriented individual, working to support and maintain

the currently existing laws, customs, and institutions.

Before going on to the next perspective, please reread

the general summary, and write a paraphrase of it on the


Perspective C. Punishment and Obedience Orientation

The physical consequences of action determine its
goodness or badness, regardless of the human meaning
or value of these consequences. Avoidance of punish-
ment and unquestioning deference to power are valued
in their own right, not in terms of respect for an
underlying moral order supported by punishment and

In terms of the seven aspects, this way appears as

follows. The person making the judgment

1. Rules. Believes in literal obedience to external
rules and authority for their own sake (rather
than for the purpose of upholding a social order).

2. Conscience. Believes that whatever action avoids
punishment is the morally right one, and that rules
should be obeyed for the purpose of avoiding punish-
ment. Equates any conception of conscience with
fear of punishment or anxiety about doing wrong acts.

3. Altruism. Focuses on his own welfare.

4. Self-Interest. Sees his own welfare as being best
served by obeying authority and rules literally.

5. Duty. Considers duty or obligation as what you have
to do or are made to do by superior powers or

6. Role-Taking. Doesn't role-take, doesn't put him-
self in the actor's place, expects punishment no
matter what the reasons for action.

7. Justice. Regards fairness as an eye for an eye, a
tooth for a tooth retaliation.

For some examples of this way of thinking, a person
responding to the Heinz dilemma might say

Example 1C

Heinz shouldn't steal the drug, because he'll feel
nervous, knowing that the police may catch him any

Feelings of conscience are based on fear of authorities,

and one's self-interest is best served by conforming to

the authorities.

Example 2C

Nobody said he had to break the law and steal the
drug. It's not his fault his wife got cancer, so he
doesn't have to do anything about it.

Duty is based only on what is explicitly demanded.

Example 3C

He'd better steal the drug. God says you've got to
help save a life whenever you can, and if you don't
do what He says, He'll punish you.

In order to best serve one's self-interest, rules should be

followed literally in order to avoid punishment.

Example 4C

He should do anything he can to save her. I've always
been told that you'll get punished if you don't help a
person in a case like this, so it must be a bad thing
to let somebody die if you can do something.

Avoidance of punishment defines an act as good, and the

judgment of the act is based only on this.

Notice in these examples how the person making these

judgments does not take the viewpoints of any of the people

involved in the situation.

Before going on to the next perspective, please reread

the general description of this one and write a paraphrase,

in your own words, on the worksheet.

Perspective D. Interpersonal Concern and Concern about
being "Good"

Good behavior is that which pleases or helps others
and is approved by them. Therefore, attempts are made
to act in accord with those images that the group con-
siders "natural" or appropriate. Behavior is frequently
judged by intention: whether or not someone "means
well" is an important consideration. One earns approval
by pleasing others and having good motives.

Described in the terms of the seven aspects, this

perspective appears as follows. The person making the


1. Rules. Doesn't really believe it's right to break
rules but thinks it natural and excusable when good
motives are involved. Expects authorities to be
helpful and understanding in such situations.

2. Conscience. Is less concerned about physical
punishment than about the disapproval of others.
Tends to equate conscience with concern about the
hurt feelings and disapproval of others.

3. Altruism. Is concerned about being unselfish and
giving toward other people in close relations, whom
he does or should care about.

4. Self-Interest. Tends to deny rational self-interest
when it conflicts with pleasing others. May claim
to care more about others than about himself.
(Condemns druggist as being selfish, heartless, and

5. Duty. Sees duties or obligations as what you are
expected" to do by others in the relationship or
as what you are expected to do by most people.

6. Role-Taking. Not only puts the individual self in
actor's place, but considers what a good self or
what most people would feel or decide in the actor's
place. Sympathizes in terms of good motives.
Thinks the judge or punisher should be understanding.

7. Justice. Regards fairness as trying to make everyone
happy. Considers everyone directly involved, but not
people who are more distant.