Moral Development: New Directions in Research on Children's Values and Moral Emotions and Behaviours

Event date: July 9 - July 12, 2018

    Ariel Knafo-Noam (The Hebrew University)


    Morality can be defined as the distinction between right and wrong, good and bad. Morally-relevant constructs can be roughly organized into three broad components: cognitive, affective and behavioral. The cognitive component refers to the conceptualization of right and wrong. Developmental research has largely focused on moral reasoning in the context of hypothetical and real-life moral dilemmas and by using narratives of children’s own social experiences. More recently, developmental research has started focusing on what their values, namely important, guiding principles, are. The affective component refers to feelings (such as pride, guilt and shame) related to reaction to social situations and evaluation of chosen actions. Guilt, pride and shame are examples of moral emotions regarded as self-conscious or self-evaluative emotions, which focus on the way one feels regarding oneself, and may arise due to anticipated or actual behavior. Finally, the behavioral component refers to the way individuals choose to behave. Developmental research has mainly focused on prosocial behavior, which is a behavior that is intended to benefit others. Other relevant moral behaviors are those for which there is a general social agreement that they are “wrong” such as lying and bullying, and “right” such as honesty and resisting temptations. The proposed workshop will address all three components of morality, as well as their interface, trying to understand how moral cognition, emotion and behavior develop.