What Is Jean Piaget's Theory Of Cognitive Development

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Cognitive development theory
The cognitive development theory suggests that moral development is related to the development of rational reasoning. According to Jean Piaget, the development of moral reasoning involves a systematic progression through a sequence of phases, each characterised by a particular quality of thought. (Jean Piaget 1932, 1965) Through his research on how children develop judgement about morality and ethics, Piaget found two stages of moral thoughts that children go through; the heteronomous and the autonomous. In the heteronomous phase, the morality and ethics of children are based on how an action affects them, the consequence of an action and the conformity of social rules and regulations. The rules set by an individual …show more content…

Male individuals of the upper class and western background are more likely to receive the highest stage where as individuals from a working class or rural background are more likely to score a lower stage(Miller). Some critics interpret this as an indication of bias in Kohlberg’ theory(Miller) (Simpson 1974). Alternatively, an understanding that might be compatible with the theory is that the process of rational reasoning is unevenly dispersed across different cultures and economic backgrounds(Miller). That is, individuals of a higher class are more rationalised and morally developed than those of a lower class. However, the fact that some individuals are more rationalised does not mean that they are more morally developed. A second criticism deals with the potential gender bias component of the moral theory developed by Kohlberg. He established the theory using his empirical studies which were conducted by male researchers using only male participants. Consequently, women tend to remain in stage three, focusing on maintaining relationships, whereas men focus on abstract principles of law and justices (Gilligan

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