Measuring morality in infancy: A scoping methodological review

Jennifer Lavoie, Aja Louise Murray, Guy Skinner, Emilia Janiczek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We conducted a scoping review of methods that have been used to measure infants’ (under age 2) moral development. Our aim was to assess the state of knowledge through a thematic overview of the methodologies that have been used and the specific constructs studied. We found that the majority of studies used an experimental methodology, and within this, infants’ actual behavior and their evaluations were the most common sources of information. An evidence map depicting concept delineation between studies and presenting concepts as related to an underlying moral sense, as prosocial (emotion and behavior), and as antisocial components (emotion and behavior) is provided. Just under one third of studies were longitudinal, and a high percentage reported a statistically significant longitudinal relation for moral development. Results highlight a need for measures that can be used longitudinally at different stages of development so that trajectories can be observed and mapped to behavioral outcomes, such as conduct problems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInfant and Child Development
Early online date19 Jan 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • infancy
  • moral development
  • moral reasoning


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