Lawrence Kohlberg

Read Complete Research Material


Lawrence Kohlberg

Table of Contents


Key Concept4

Human Nature and Individual Differences5

Healthy Personality7





Lawrence Kohlberg


Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987) was an American psychologist who, after completing high school, he enlisted in the merchant navy with which travels around the world. During that time, in full World War II, helps to transport Jews from Europe to Palestine; then back to America and studied in Chicago, earned the title of "Bachelor of Arts" and a doctorate in philosophy. In 1958 he defended his doctoral thesis in which he outlined later reflection made on the development of moral judgments.

Lawrence Kohlberg's interest in moral decision making began with strong questions about why the German citizenry did not protest Nazi atrocities committed against Jewish and other minority populations during the 1930s and 1940s. With colleagues at Harvard University, this inquiry later expanded to a body of research and theory on the broader realm of moral decision making, or individual perceptions of justice, responsibility, fairness, and right courses of actions. This work is most noted for conceptualizing moral decision making according to a series of developmental stages that evolve to varying degrees over the course of a lifetime.

Kohlberg considered that it is essential to understand the structure of reasoning versus moral issues. In his research, he did not focus on specific values, but in moral reasoning, that is the reasons that people have to choose one or another action. They are the formal aspects of moral thought that interest to Kohlberg.

He began his work collecting material by 1960, basically the people showed “moral dilemmas”, that is, cases classified conflicting decisions and the responses obtained. This procedure came to describe six stages corresponding to three different levels of moral reasoning. The author argues that the sequence of steps is necessary, and not dependent on cultural differences, as it obtained the same results in Mexico, the U.S. and Taiwan. Interesting facts speak for only 25% of adults reach the third level, the state 6 is reached only by 5% of adults.

Key Concept

Kohlberg defined moral reasoning and judgments about acceptance or deviation from the norm. His studies of moral reasoning are based on the use of moral dilemmas or scenarios in which a person must make a decision. Kohlberg defined the level of moral reasoning from the solution of the dilemmas. He noted that moral development was related to age and established three levels with 2 stages each. Of these six stages, many people progress only to the fourth or fifth. We must also say that they are universal, that is valid for any age and culture, as well as irreducible. On the other hand, they appear as the child interacts with the social environment (Kohlberg, 1981). The stages are linear, that is invariant follow a development of each individual. Similarly, the stages or steps are not cumulative and that no person can belong to two stages at once. Therefore, each is an indivisible whole.

Many psychologists agree with the ideas of Kohlberg, although the findings are not definitive ...
Related Ads