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Children’s Moral Reasoning: Influence of Culture and Collaborative Discussion

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Abstract This study investigated the effects of culture and collaborative discussion on Chinese and American children’s moral reasoning in reflective essays that they composed about a moral and practical dilemma. In contrast to American children who frequently expressed egocentric concerns, Chinese children exhibited altruistic tendencies and expressed more concern for maintaining in-group harmony, which are the core values advocated in collectivist culture. Collaborative discussion promoted children’s moral reasoning in both cultures, leading to significantly more consideration of the principles of being honest, having empathy for others, keeping promises, honoring friendship, being trustworthy, and not betraying others by tattling.


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