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Moral development refers to the emergence and progression of an individual’s sense of right and wrong across his or her life span. Moral development theories focus on various dimensions of morality—describing age-related change in understanding and adherence to philosophical principles, moral emotions, care for others, and the degree to which one’s behaviors conform to societal norms and expectations. These theories are also concerned with issues of what might account for change and the factors that impact on development. This entry offers an overview of early research on the moral development of children by key thinkers in the field, including Sigmund Freud, Lawrence Kolhberg, and Jean Piaget, and further considers contemporary perspectives on the topic.

Moral Development: Early Research

Early scholars were concerned with the question of ...

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