Published On: 26/10/2010|Categories: 2008–2012, Vol.31 (2010), Vol.31 (3)|


In order to unify two major theories of moral judgment, a novel task is employed which combines elements of Kohlberg´s stage theory and of the theory of information integration. In contrast to the format of Kohlberg´s moral judgment interview, a nonverbal and quantitative response which makes low demands on verbal facility was used . Moral informers differing in value, i.e. high and low, are presented. The differences in effect of those two pieces of information should be substantial for a person at that specific moral stage, but small for a person at a different stage. Hence, these differences may diagnose the person’s moral stage in the simplest possible way as the two levels of each of the thoughts were about typical content of the four Kohlbergian preconventional and conventional stages. The novel task allowed additionally to measure the influence of another moral concept which was about the non-Kohlbergian moral concept of recompense. After a training phase, pairs of those thoughts were presented to allow for the study of integration and individual differences. German and Korean children, 8, 10, and 12 years in age, judged deserved punishment. The patterns of means, correlations and factor loadings showed that elements of both theories can be unified, but produced unexpected results also. Additive integration of each of the two pairs of moral informers appeared, either with two Kohlbergian moral informers or with another Kohlbergian moral informer in combination with information about recompense. Also cultural independence as well as dependence, developmental changes between 8 and 10 years, and an outstanding moral impact of recompense in size and distinctiveness were observed.

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