Preschool children' s conceptions of moral and social rules

  • Smetana J
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44 children were divided into 2 age groups (mean ages 3 yrs 3 mo and 4 yrs 2 mo) and were asked to make judgments concerning the seriousness, rule contingency, rule relativism, and amounts of deserved punishment for 10 depicted moral and conventional preschool transgressions. ANOVAs with Age and Sex as between-group factors and Domain as the within-group factor indicated that, constant across both sexes and the ages studied, Ss evaluated moral transgressions as more serious offenses and as more deserving of punishment than conventional transgressions. Moral events were less likely than conventional events to be regarded as contingent on the presence of a rule and relative to the social context. Test–retest reliability of the ratings of the seriousness of transgressions was .66 over a 2–3 wk period. Findings are discussed in relation to the developmental differentiation model and the distinct conceptual domain approach. (9 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Judith G Smetana

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