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Moral Development in a Violent Society: Colombian Children’s Judgments in the Context of Survival and Revenge

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Ninety-six Colombian children (mean age = 7.7 years) and adolescents (mean age = 14.6 years) made judgments about stealing and physical harm in the abstract and in the context of survival and revenge. All participants judged it wrong to steal or hurt others because of considerations with justice and welfare, and most also judged it wrong to engage in such actions even when they can aid in survival. Their judgments in the context of revenge were more mixed, with a sizable proportion endorsing stealing and hurting in that condition. Furthermore, the majority expected that people would steal and hurt others in most situations. Significant age differences were also found. The consequences of political violence for moral development are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Utah

Publication date: 2008-07-01

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