Aggression and moral development: Integrating social information processing and moral domain models

  • Arsenio W
  • Lemerise E
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Social information processing and moral domain theories have developed in relative isolation from each other despite their common focus on intentional harm and victimization, and mutual emphasis on social cognitive processes in explaining aggressive, morally relevant behaviors. This article presents a selective summary of these literatures with the goal of showing how they can be integrated into a single, coherent model. An essential aspect of this integration is Crick and Dodge's (1994) distinction between latent mental structures and online processing. It is argued that moral domain theory is relevant for describing underlying mental structures regarding the nature and boundaries of what is moral, whereas the social information processing model describes the online information processing that affects application of moral structures during peer interactions.

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  • William F. Arsenio

  • Elizabeth A. Lemerise

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