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Theories Of Adolescence Kohlberg Essay

906 words - 4 pages

Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987), a professor at Harvard University, began his research as a developmental psychologist in the early 1970s. Kohlberg is most famous for his Theory of Moral Development -based on six stages of moral reasoning. These stages are classified into three levels: Pre-conventional, Conventional and Post-Conventional. Kohlberg aimed to describe the process in which people learn to discriminate from right and wrong and increasingly appreciate moral values.The Pre-Conventional level of moral reasoning is focused on children whose understanding of morality is driven by its direct consequences. An action that produces a reward is considered "right" as in an action that results ...view middle of the document...

Kohlberg states that as one's intelligence and ability to interact with others develops, so does their moral behavior. Good behavior means having good motives and interpersonal feelings such as love, empathy and trust. There is a shift from unquestioning obedience to an analytical outlook of the broader society and an aspiration for genuinely good motives. In the Conventional level, the individual departs their self-centred reasoning and recognizes their place in society. During adolescence, a person's moral reasoning has shifted from following social procedures in hopes of receiving a reward to appreciating the value of a functioning society. An adolescent enters society by assuming social roles and responsibilities, responding to the approval and disapproval of others. As a child becomes an adult, their status before the law differs, resulting in a change of attitude towards the legal system. Therefore an adolescent must realize that their actions may lead to consequences greater than direct responses and that it is important to consider societal views and expectations. Throughout adolescence, one begins to identify the conformity of social constructs as a means of forming personal relationships with family or peers. Furthermore this development of empathy, respect and selfless intentions, contributes to an adolescent's greater capability for forging relationships. Kohlberg believes that this period of adolescence causes a dramatic shift in an individual's perspective on themselves and their society, transforming their approach to moral behavior, relationships and authority.Kohlberg identified family as the first source of values and moral development - assuming that humans are born without morals and ethics. Kohlberg believes...

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