The research reported in this Monograph documents the narrative accounts and moral evaluations that children between the ages of 5 and 16 made of incidents in which they had been the targets of their peers' unfair or harmful actions and incidents in which they had been those inflicting harm on their peers. By systematically examining children's construals of social interactions, this research brings to the fore the role of interpretation in moral thinking. By moving beyond the assessment of moral judgments made from an uninvolved third-person perspective, it underscores the possibility that children apply their moral concepts differently when they judge instances of harm or injustice from the victim's or the perpetrator's perspectives. Together, these issues bear on how children's moral concepts are applied and develop within their actual social interactions, especially those interactions that appear to violate those very moral concepts. By contributing to our understanding of children's moral thinking as it is manifested in their everyday interactions, this research also brings us a step closer to better conceptualizing the study of children's moral behavior.
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Author Biography - Cecilla Wainryb
Cecilia Wainryb (Ph.D., 1989, University of California, Berkeley) is Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Utah. Her research interests include social and moral development, and the roles of interpretation and culture in development. Beverly A. Brehl (M.Sc., 2004, University of Utah) is a Doctoral Candidate in Developmental Psychology at the University of Utah. She is interested in children's social cognition and moral development. Her current research concerns the role of children's developing psychological knowledge in moral reasoning. Sonia Matwin (M.Sc., 2004, University of Utah) is a Doctoral Candidate in Social Psychology at the University of Utah. In addition to the subject matter of this Monograph, her research interests include attitudes and persuasion in the health context. BryanW. Sokol (Ph.D., University of British Columbia, Canada, 2004) is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, Canada. His research interests include the study of children's conceptions of agency and the relation between epistemic development and moral reasoning. Stuart Hammond (M.A., Universite- de Montre-al, 2004) is currently a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, Canada. His research interests include the development of children's understanding of objects through social interaction, and the relation between moral development and social interaction.