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rockabye rockabye
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4 years ago
Summarize Kohlberg's three levels of morality. Provide an example for each.
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Psychology


Edition: 2nd
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Staff Member
2 months ago
The three levels of moral reasoning include preconventional, conventional, and postconventional. By using children's responses to a series of moral dilemmas.

Preconventional morality is the first stage of moral development, and lasts until approximately age 9. At the preconventional level children don’t have a personal code of morality, and instead moral decisions are shaped by the standards of adults and the consequences of following or breaking their rules.

For example, if an action leads to punishment is must be bad, and if it leads to a reward is must be good.


Conventional morality is the second stage of moral development, and is characterized by an acceptance of social rules concerning right and wrong. At the conventional level (most adolescents and adults), we begin to internalize the moral standards of valued adult role models.

Authority is internalized but not questioned, and reasoning is based on the norms of the group to which the person belongs.

A social system that stresses the responsibilities of relationships as well as social order is seen as desirable and must, therefore, influence our view of what is right and wrong.



Postconventional morality is the third stage of moral development, and is characterized by an individuals’ understanding of universal ethical principles. These are abstract and ill-defined, but might include: the preservation of life at all costs, and the importance of human dignity.

Individual judgment is based on self-chosen principles, and moral reasoning is based on individual rights and justice. According to Kohlberg this level of moral reasoning is as far as most people get.

Only 10-15% are capable of the kind of abstract thinking necessary for stage 5 or 6 (post-conventional morality). That is to say, most people take their moral views from those around them and only a minority think through ethical principles for themselves.
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