Moral development refers to age-related changes in the thoughts and emotions that guide individuals' ideas of right and wrong and how they and others should act. In addressing this broad concept, theorists and researchers have focused on the moral cognitions, feelings, and behaviors that tend to evolve from early childhood to adulthood.

Moral Cognitions

Some researchers have emphasized the cognitive component of morality by studying the development of moral reasoning. Based on his observations of and interviews with 4to 12-year-old children, Jean Piaget proposed a two-stage model of moral development. In the first stage, young children view rules as rigid, unchangeable, and handed down by authorities. By the second stage, older children have become aware that rules and laws are established and maintained through mutual consent, and ...

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