Creator: Max-Planck-Institut für psychologische Forschung; Weinert, Franz; Schneider, Wolfgang
Contributor: Nunner-Winkler, Gertrud
Funding: Max Planck Society; Volkswagen Foundation; Jacobs Foundation
Title: Scientific data of the Munich Longitudinal Study on the Genesis of Individual Competencies (LOGIC): Moral development.
Year of Publication: 2012
Citation: Nunner-Winkler, G. (2012). Scientific data of the Munich Longitudinal Study on the Genesis of Individual Competencies (LOGIC): Moral development. [Translated Title] (Version 1.0.0) [Data and Documentation]. Trier: Center for Research Data in Psychology: PsychData of the Leibniz Institute for Psychology ZPID. https://doi.org/10.5160/psychdata.nrgd05lo30
The Munich “Longitudinal Study of the Genesis of Individual Competencies” (LOGIC) is a comprehensive examination of the differential description of developmental trajectories of cognitive skills and personality characteristics. It also describes individual differences in development due to the influence of varying school and classroom conditions. The changing state of the development of intelligence, psychomotor behavior, thinking, memory, school knowledge, motivation, personal characteristics, social skills and preferences, and moral reasoning and action were regularly reported. Beginning in 1984, 9 annual survey waves were carried out encompassing 3 points of measurement each. 205 children (aged 4 years and older) from 20 different kindergartens in Munich and from the Fürstenfeldbruck area were examined. In 1997-1998, a follow-up study (wave 10) was conducted with the now 18-year-old subjects. The most recent survey (wave 11) took place in 2003-2005. For this wave, 153 subjects (74.6%) of the initial sample could be obtained. The entire study thus extends over an age range from preschool age to young adulthood (Schneider & Bullock, 2009, Weinert & Schneider, 1999).
The development of moral motivation was examined from pre-school to early adulthood. The knowledge of moral rules and moral motivation were analyzed using various, sometimes newly developed instruments. The results suggest that moral development can be understood as a two-stage learning process. Overall the children from early on acquire a knowledge of simple moral rules and understand their categorical validity. Moral motivation is developed in a second learning process that the children are undergoing at different speeds and varying degrees of success. On average, moral motivation increases with age. Class and gender were analyzed as factors influencing individual differences in developmental trajectories. It was found that mostly boys with a strong identification with their own gender role at puberty have decreases in moral motivation (Nunner-Winkler, 2009).
Research Questions/Hypotheses: Contrary to Kohlberg’s (1981; 1984) Theory of the Development of Moral Consciousness, all children understand from early on that moral norms possess validity independent of authority and sanctions. (cf. also Turiel, 1983). Moral motivation is developed in a second, delayed, differential learning process.
In modern times even children assign – contrary to Kant – a prima facie validity to negative obligations.
There is no difference between sexes pertaining to the content of moral convictions. The gender differences in the intensity of moral motivation beginning in puberty can be explained by identification with one’s own gender role.
Research Design: Questionnaire data: Combined Standardized Survey Instruments; Test Data: Experimental Design, Laboratory Experiment; repeated measurements
In waves 2, 4, 6, 7, 10 and 11, the subjects were presented with age appropriate moral conflicts (norm vs. need). In the investigational situation awareness and justification of the norms was inquired openly. Then a description of the protagonist violating the rule follows and a justified emotional attribution towards the hypothetical offender is requested (older subjects: towards the self in the role of the offender as well as in the role of the victim affected by the violation). Research data from waves 4, 7 and 11 is provided. The research data from the other waves will also be provided as soon as processing is completed.
In waves 2, 4 and 6, a dilemma developed by Damon was used to assess understanding of obedience and legitimacy of parental authority (Damon 1977, Nunner-Winkler & Sodian, 1988b).
In wave 3, parents were to state and justify how they would react in 2 hypothetical situations in which they observe their child violating a positive or negative obligation. They were also provided with a list of 9 child-rearing goals and were to choose the 3 most and the 3 least important to them.
In wave 5, a follow-up interview on autobiographical memory took place:
The children had watched a short film about a moral violation: A clique steals money from a boy and then refuses to return it, even though the boy won a kind of duel against the clique’s leader. One of the clique members then supports the boy who was stolen from. In the follow-up interview six months later, the children were asked to evaluate the behaviour of the 3 protagonists (theft victim, clique leader, supporter). For each they were asked to provide an open (“How does he feel? Why?”) and a standardized emotional attribution (“Does he feel sad/proud/angry/happy?”). They were also asked to state which character they would like to play most in a play and who they would reward (Nunner-Winkler, 1992). The association was calculated between the strength of moral motivation, measured by the number of morally justified emotional attributions, and several memory measures (free recall, recognition) (Nunner-Winkler & Weber, 1992).
In wave 6, the “Heinz Dilemma” from Kohlberg was presented: Heinz’s wife is suffering from a fatal illness and can only be saved by very expensive medication. The pharmacist sells the medication for ten times the price and, despite his pleas, will not sell it to Heinz for less, who has only been able to get together half the price. As a result, Heinz considers stealing the medication from the pharmacy. The children were asked for guidance and their justification for those actions.
In wave 8, a hypothetical situation was presented, in which a norm collides with a hedonistic need, a personal value and another moral norm (moral dilemma) and justified moral guidance is requested.
In wave 8, a film was shown in which the protagonist steals a pig from his uncle because he needs money to buy a tent with his friends. After each scene, the children stated how the protagonist was feeling at that moment (good/bad). They were also asked for emotional justification, evaluation of actions and guidance.
In wave 10, the “Moral Interview – Understanding of Self” was conducted. The subjects were presented with the following question: “What do you believe would change you the most as a person?” First they were asked for an open answer, then they were presented with 10 characteristics and were to respond on a 5-point scale, how much of a different person they would be, if they had these different characteristics (e.g. different parents, other gender) (Nunner-Winkler 2000a, 2005).
The subsample of children from Prof. Asendorpf’s area “social development” were investigated more extensively pertaining to shyness and took part in the following two experiments:
During an animal guessing game, children were given the chance to cheat, as the investigator left the room on a pretext. After a max. of 120 seconds, the investigator returned, either after the child had cheated and started to become bored or after the child hadn’t cheated. The game was continued and the child was asked directly whether he/she had cheated. After the game, a short interview was conducted about whether and why cheating is allowed or not. The children’s behaviour in the tempting situation was filmed through a one-way mirror. The video material was analyzed pertaining to objective information. Furthermore, the second half of the video (after the investigator returns) was evaluated by three raters according to several criteria (assessment, whether the child cheated, child’s motivation, child’s feelings of guilt at different times during the experiment) (cf. Asendorpf & Nunner-Winkler, 1992).
In wave 8, the ring throwing experiment was conducted: During a ring throwing game, the children were given the chance to clarify an error made by the investigator to their advantage. After the ring throwing game, the child was supposed to write down his/her points. The investigator transferred the points onto her list but made an “error” and accredited the subject the points from another child with the highest score. The subject then had to transfer the list once more, while the investigator left the room for a short time. Only afterwards did the investigator notice her “error”. The association between moral motivation, shyness and behaviour pertaining to the investigators “error” (complete correction, partial correction, no correction of the error) was investigated.
Data Collection Method:
Data collection in the presence of an experimenter
– Individual Administration
– Group Administration
– Paper and Pencil
– Photographs, Video and Audio Recordings
Population: Children; parents
Survey Time Period:
1st wave: 1984 – 1985
2nd wave: 1985 – 1986
3rd wave: 1986 – 1987
4th wave: 1987 – 1988
5th wave: 1988 – 1989
6th wave: 1989 – 1990
7th wave: 1990 – 1991
8th wave: 1991 – 1992
9th wave: 1992 – 1993
10th wave: 1997 – 1998
11th wave: 2003 – 2005
Sample: Selection of 20 kindergartens in Greater Munich and in the Fürstenfeldbruck area (near Munich), that corresponded to socio-economic criteria of (West) Germany’s general population in the year 1984. After information sessions at each of the facilities, 205 children were recruited. After the first assessment year (wave 1) approx. another 20 children were recruited.
1st wave: 49% female subjects (n=100); 51% male subjects (n=105)
2nd wave: 48% female subjects (n=104); 52% male subjects (n=113)
3rd wave: 48% female subjects (n=102); 52% male subjects (n=111)
4th wave: 49% female subjects (n=98); 51% male subjects (n=105)
5th wave: 48% female subjects (n=96); 52% male subjects (n=104)
6th wave: 48% female subjects (n=93); 52% male subjects (n=100)
7th wave: 48% female subjects (n=93); 52% male subjects (n=101)
8th wave: 47% female subjects (n=89); 53% male subjects (n=100)
9th wave: 47% female subjects (n=87); 53% male subjects (n=99)
10th wave: 47% female subjects (n=81); 53% male subjects (n=93)
Age Distribution: 4-12 years (wave 1-9); 18 years ( wave 10); 23 years (wave 11)
Spatial Coverage (Country/Region/City): Germany/Bavaria/Munich
Subject Recruitment: Personal contact to parents and subjects through psychological-technical assistants over the course of 20 years. Small gifts on special occasions. Yearly Christmas and birthday greetings with individually selected post cards. Individual aptitude tests for schooling and career paths as well as general counselling offered and performed by academic staff. Publication of a newsletter for the sample in the early assessment waves. Festive completion event in 1993 with gifts. Copy of the book “Development in Childhood” sent free of charge. During waves 10 and 11, subject compensation and offer of comparative performance evaluation.
Sample Size: 205 individuals (wave 1)
Return/DropOut: After a drop out of 13 children in wave 2, a further 25 children were recruited, resulting in the following sample sizes for the further waves: 217 in wave 2; 213 in wave 3; 204 in wave 4; 200 in wave 5; 195 in wave 6; 194 in wave 7; 189 in wave 8; 186 in wave 9; 176 in wave 10 and still 153 subjects in wave 11.
The response rate was 74.6% in wave 11. The data on sample sizes refer to the entire LOGIC study. The number of subjects may vary between each of the single assessments.