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Thread: Individual Differences in Moral Development: Does Intelligence Really Affect Children’s Moral Reasoning and Moral Emotions?

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    Individual Differences in Moral Development: Does Intelligence Really Affect Children’s Moral Reasoning and Moral Emotions?

    G fails to predict morality.

    This study investigates the relationship between intelligence and individual differences in children’s moral development across a range of different moral transgressions. Taking up prior research that showed morality and intelligence to be related in adolescents and adults, the current study wants to test if these findings can be extended to younger children. The study was designed to address some of the shortcomings in prior research by examining young children aged between 6 years; 4 months and 8 years; 10 months, using a broad concept of moral development including emotional aspects and applying an approach that is closely connected to children’s daily lives. Participants (N = 129) completed a standardized intelligence test and were presented four moral transgression stories to assess moral development. Results demonstrated that findings from prior research with adolescents or adults cannot simply be extended to younger participants. No significant correlations of moral development and intelligence were found for any of the presented stories. This provides first evidence that – at least in middle childhood – moral developmental status seems to be independent from children’s general intelligence assessed by figural inductive reasoning tests.
    http://journal.frontiersin.org/artic...01961/abstract

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    I am not surprised that the study found no correlation between moral emotions and reasoning in young children. Morality is not of natural conception, it is not from birth ingrained in our mind, but rather instilled later on.

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    I would disagree.

    http://yourmorals.org/haidtlab/mft/index.php?t=home

    1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.

    2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]

    3) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor.

    4) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it's "one for all, and all for one."

    5) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.

    6) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).

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