Kohlbergs Moral Development model

  • Preconvential level Ages: 10-13

    Moral thinking based on the consquences of ones choices or actions.
  • Stage 1: Punishment and Obedience

    Individuals don't understand morals they see it as something external. They can't see what they did wrong, to them a powerful authority lays down rules that they must obey. Cannot see the other persons point of view and don't consider other peoples feelings.
    Example: He shouldn't cheat on the test because he will get caught. The individual only see's the consquence of the action and not why the actoin is considerd morally unjust.
  • Stage 2 Individual instrumental purporse and exchange

    Individual begins to see others and authorities point of view. The individual realises they do the right thing for themsleves, therefore they are not as egocentric. They expect a reward for doing the right thing.
    Example: It won't do him any good to steal the drug because his wife will probably die before he gets out of jail.
  • Convential level Ages: 13-50 (most people don't progress from this stage)

    Moral thinking based on a desire to please others or to follow expected rules and values.
  • Stage 3 Mutual Interpersonal expectations, realtionships and conformity

    The individual has a considerable degree of conformity at this stage. They lkearn to live up to rules to get praise and affection. They better are seeing other peoples point of view. They are less egocentric and more aware of feelings agreements and expectations.
    Example: He shouldn't cheat on the test because others will think he is a cheater, most people don't want to be associated with a cheater.
  • Stage 4 Social systems and Consience maintence

    The individual starts to feel it is their duty to maintain the welfare of the society or group. It doesn't matter as much if two people agree, it's more about what is right and wrong in society.
    Example: If a person in stage 4 moral thinking found a wallet with $500 cash inside, instead of keeping it they would give it to the police.
  • Post Convential Level Age: 50+ (Few people reach this stage, and certainly not until middle age.)

    Moral Thinking based on carefully examined and self chosen moral principles.
  • Stage 5 Prior Rights and Social Consience or Utility

    The individual support of laws and rules is based on rational analysis and mutual agreement; rules are recognised as open to question, but are upheld for the good of the community and the name of democratic values
    Example: "He should not steal the drug. The pharmisist decision is reprehensible, but mutal respect for the rights of others must be maintained."
  • Stage 6: Morality of Individual Priciples

    The individuals behaivor is derected by self chosen ethical principles that need to be generally comprehensible or universal; high value is placed on justice, dignity and equality.
    Example: "He should steal the drug and then inform the authorities of what he has done. He will have to a penalty, but will save a life."
  • Critisicms of Kohlbergs Model

    Woolfolk in 1993 said that Kohlbergs model could not be held accountable because of the lack of women in the study. Woolfolk said that women were considered caring and compassionate and based explanations on personal relationships, which would be considered stage three moral thinking. Men are considered to base decisions on justice and equality, which would be considered stage 5/6 moral thinking.