Lawrence Kohlberg

By:Chasity Truslow

Lawrence Kohlberg was born in Bronxville, New York in 1927. Kohlberg was born into a wealthy family that ensured the best education for their son. He was educated at one of the finest prep schools in New York. However, Kohlberg was not into riches that his family was and decided to become a sailor in the Marines. During his time of being a sailor, he smuggled many Jews onto the merchant ships where he began interested in moral development.

After spending time as a sailor, Kohlberg decided to study Psychology at the University of Chicago where he eventually earned his PH.D. In his studies he continued studying his interest of moral reasoning and development. He followed in the footsteps of John Dewey and Jean Piaget.

Kohlberg gathered most of his information through surveys where he proposed his subjects with a moral dilemma and gathered his information from thier responses. From this research he came up with his theory of moral development.

Lawrence Kohlberg’s research was invigorating and considered life-changing in the field of Psychology

Tragically in January of 1987, Lawrence Kohlburg disappeared and his body was later found in a swamp area in Central American. Its was speculated that Kohlberg committed suicide but this is still unsure.

Kohlberg’s Influence on Child Psychology

Lawrence Kohlberg became very interested in child psychology by looking at previous theory from Jean Piaget. Piaget came up with his theory of moral development in children by stating that children up to age 11 handled moral dilemmas in one way and children older than 11 handled them in a different way. Kohlberg agreed with Piaget’s theory of the two stages of moral development however, he felt that the topic needed more elaboration. Kohlberg felt that a child’s stages of moral development were more complex and that individual development in children simply does not stop at such a simple level. From this assumption, Kohlberg decided to elaborate on Piaget’s theory by his interviews with children all the way through adolescence. His results from his studies with children marked the beginning of Kohlbergs theory of moral development.

The Heinz Dilemma                    Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development



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