Pro Social Reasoning
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Which Psychologist pioneered the Pro-social reasoning model?
On what does Eisenberg focus in relation to morality?
- Positive behaviour and the reasoning behind it
- She believed that pro social reasoning would involve empathy and her model involves the influence of feelings in relation to making moral decisions
What was the aim of Eisenberg's study into pro-social reasoning?
To investigate the changes in pro-social reasoning with age through a longitudinal study
What methodology was employed during Eisenberg's study into pro-social reasoning?
- American children were interviewed in 2 year intervals from 4-12
- The children were asked to decide whether or not to carry out a positive behaviour even when it was at a cost to themselves through the use of a moral dilemma
What was the moral dilemma used in Eisenberg's study into pro-social reasoning?
- Mary is on her way to a birthday party when she comes across an injured child
- The child asks Mary to go to her parents' house so they can get a doctor
- If Mary went to the house she would be late for the party and miss out on the ice cream, cake and games
- Should Mary help the child or ignore them and why?
What were the results of Eisenberg's study into pro-social reasoning?
- Pre-schoolers and nursery students gave self-orientated or hedonistic answers, placing more importance on their own interests
- Older children gave more empathic answers, placing more importance on the feelings of others
What was concluded from Eisenberg's study into pro-social reasoning?
- A series of 5 levels of pro social reasoning were proposed by Eisenberg
- Development is less clear cut and more complicated than the stage theories would suggest
- Pro-social behaviour varies with culture and would be higher in cultures where said behaviour would be rewarded or valued
What are the features of stage one of pro social reasoning?
- Occurs up to age 7
- Known as the Hedonistic or self centred stage
- The child only cares for itself, helping only takes place when it benefits the helper
What are the features of stage two of pro social reasoning?
- Occurs from 7-11
- Known as the Needs Orientation stage
- Needs of others are recognised but to a limited extent
- The needs of the specific situation are addressed rather than a genuine sense of empathy
- Help is dependant on how much the recipient needs it and there has to be obvious distress
- There is little guilt if help is not given
What are the features of stage three of pro social reasoning?
- Occurs from 11-14
- Known as the Approval Oriented stage
- Helping is motivated by being praised for the action
- The child acts in a way that will make them liked
What are the features of stage four of pro social reasoning?
- Occurs from 12 upwards
- Known as the empathic/self reflective stage
- There is sympathy for others and guilt if help is not given
What are the features of stage 4/5 of pro social reasoning?
- Occurs from 12 upwards
- Know as the transitional level
- Partial awareness of duties and principles
- Actions are explained in terms of wider social values and the need to protect the dignity and self esteem of others
What are the features of stage 5 of pro social reasoning?
- Occurs from 16 onwards
- Known as the Internalised Orientation stage
- Internal values such as responsibility and self respect are used to justify giving help
- The person now has a full set of values and understands their responsibilities towards others
- They have self respect that they can only maintain by behaving with duty and care towards others
- The person's desire to live up to their own set of principles is a motivating factor
What did Eisenberg discover about empathy?
- It is not a consistent characteristic
- Children act differently towards different people
- People are more likely to help friends, family and those from their own ethnic or religious group
How did Eisenberg's findings differ from Kohlberg's?
- Children did not mention punishment or reward
- Kohlberg found that children often cited these as reasons for their negative behaviours
What did Eisenberg and Hand find in 1979?
- Sharing was more common in children judged as being in stage 2 than their stage 1 counterparts
- Children appeared to act according to their stage as well as verbally appearing to inhabit it
On what type of reasoning did Eisenberg focus?
- Pro-social reasoning
- This had previously been neglected by researchers despite playing a crucial role in everyday life
Why are Eisenberg's moral dilemmas superior to legal ones?
The reasoning is based on the moral understanding of the individual rather than legal constraints
What did Boehnke et al find in 1989?
- Despite Eisenberg's rejection of universality, evidence collected from German, Italian and Polish children showed evidence of pro-social reasoning levels
- This gives PSR cross cultural support
How did Kohlberg disagree with Eisenberg on stage progression?
- Kohlberg stated that children moved through stages without regression or skipping of stages
- Eisenberg argues that there are stages in which children adopt lower levels of morality, especially when choosing not to help someone
How did Eisenberg, Piaget and Kohlberg agree on cognitive development
- They all believed it is crucial in guiding moral development
- A person's ability to make moral decisions is based on their ability to think
How do Kohlberg and Eisenberg disagree on empathy?
- Eisenberg believed that 'primitive empathy' can be found in children as young as 4
- Kohlberg recognises empathy much later (stage 5)
What has Eisenberg recently recognised?
- The importance of emotion in moral development
- Upon seeing someone in distress, people are more likely to help if the victim arouses sympathy (low heart rate) than distress (high heart rate)
- This indicates a movement away from Kohlberg philosophy and towards Piaget
What have researchers found regarding Kohlberg's stages and how is this related to PSR?
- Eisenberg found that the pro social reasoning of children is slightly ahead of their Kohlberg reasoning
- Children's reasoning about pro social dilemmas and their reasoning about Kohlberg's justice and fairness dilemmas are only moderately correlated
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