The Relationship Between Cognitive and Moral Development Essay

The Relationship Between Cognitive and Moral Development Essay

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Many researchers have written about child development, but the most well known are Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg. Piaget's theory of cognitive development and Kohlberg's theory of moral development have been essential in helping researchers grasp the biological and psychological changes that occur between birth and adolescence. While these theories share some similarities, they also have many differences, such as Kohlberg’s application to various cultures. It is important to compare these models in order to comprehend child development.
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was a Swiss prodigy and psychologist. After he graduated from the University of Zurich, he moved to Paris, where he taught at the Grange-Aux-Belles school for boys. During his stay at the school, Piaget noticed that “children of the same age tended to give the same wrong answers, whereas children of a different age tended to give different wrong answers” (Cook, 2009, p. 153). This led him to believe that rational processes develop over time. According to his theory of cognitive development, children grow through four different stages.
Piaget’s first stage, the stage of Sensorimotor Thought, starts at birth and continues to approximately two years of age. This is the world of infants and young children, who experience the world only through their five senses. Piaget divided this first stage into six substages. The first substage is Basic Reflexes. At birth, infants have only instinctive reflexes, such as rooting, sucking, and grasping. As the child reaches the approximate age of one month, he or she moves into the next substage termed Primary Circular Reactions. In this stage, the child begins to learn through trial and error. Thumb sucking is an example of this type o...

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(1980). Moral Development, Moral Education, and Kohlberg: Basic Issues in Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, and Education. In B. Munsey (Ed.). Birmingham: Religious Education.
Cook, J. L., & Cook, G. (2009). Child Development: Principles and Perspectives (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education.
Crain, W. (2005). Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications (5th ed., pp. 118-136). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Duska, R. F., & Whelan, M. (1975). Moral Development: A Guide to Piaget and Kohlberg. New York City: Paulist.
Kohlberg, L., Colby, A., Gibbs, J., Speicher-Dubin, B., & Power, C. (1977). "Assessing Moral Stages: A Manual Part III". Thesis, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Power, C., & Kohlberg, L. (1981). The Philosophy of Moral Development: Moral Stages and the Idea of Justice. Thesis, Harper & Row, San Francisco.

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