Skip to main content
placeholder image

The development of moral motivation at 6 years of age

Chapter


Abstract


  • This chapter considers the development of children's moral motivation at

    approximately 6 years of age, a time when children understand that certain

    transgressions (e.g., stealing) are "wrong" in a moral sense (Smetana,

    1993, 2006) but are unable to engage in the kind of reasoning that is characteristic

    of mature moral deliberation (Rest, 1983). Two perspectives on

    children's moral motivation-happy victimizer expectancy and conscience

    development-are presented and contrasted to better understand why children

    choose actions that they consider moral. In Study 1, we explore the

    developmental predictors and behavioral correlates of moral motivation

    using a longitudinal study of 115 children between kindergarten and year

    1. In particular, we focus on children's psychological perspective-taking and

    their empathy as predictors of moral motivation, and we explore how moral

    motivation relates to children's social competence and behavior. In Study

    2, we examine happy victimizer expectancy and ask, by way of observing

    child-child interactions, whether so-called happy victimizers really fail to

    understand the emotional consequences of moral transgressions or whether

    they simply fail to report such emotional consequences to researchers. Our

    findings suggest that children's conscience but not happy victimizer expectancy

    is closely linked to their empathy and positive social conduct.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • de Rosnay, M. & Fink, E. (2012). The development of moral motivation at 6 years of age. In R. Langdon & C. Mackenzie (Eds.), Emotions, Imagination, and Moral Reasoning (pp. 17-44). New York, United States: Psychology Press.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84919504514

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/1531

Book Title


  • Emotions, Imagination, and Moral Reasoning

Start Page


  • 17

End Page


  • 44

Abstract


  • This chapter considers the development of children's moral motivation at

    approximately 6 years of age, a time when children understand that certain

    transgressions (e.g., stealing) are "wrong" in a moral sense (Smetana,

    1993, 2006) but are unable to engage in the kind of reasoning that is characteristic

    of mature moral deliberation (Rest, 1983). Two perspectives on

    children's moral motivation-happy victimizer expectancy and conscience

    development-are presented and contrasted to better understand why children

    choose actions that they consider moral. In Study 1, we explore the

    developmental predictors and behavioral correlates of moral motivation

    using a longitudinal study of 115 children between kindergarten and year

    1. In particular, we focus on children's psychological perspective-taking and

    their empathy as predictors of moral motivation, and we explore how moral

    motivation relates to children's social competence and behavior. In Study

    2, we examine happy victimizer expectancy and ask, by way of observing

    child-child interactions, whether so-called happy victimizers really fail to

    understand the emotional consequences of moral transgressions or whether

    they simply fail to report such emotional consequences to researchers. Our

    findings suggest that children's conscience but not happy victimizer expectancy

    is closely linked to their empathy and positive social conduct.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • de Rosnay, M. & Fink, E. (2012). The development of moral motivation at 6 years of age. In R. Langdon & C. Mackenzie (Eds.), Emotions, Imagination, and Moral Reasoning (pp. 17-44). New York, United States: Psychology Press.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84919504514

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/1531

Book Title


  • Emotions, Imagination, and Moral Reasoning

Start Page


  • 17

End Page


  • 44