Psychological Development Across the Lifespan

Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

What did Kohlberg mean by conventional morality?

The second level is called conventional morality. This level covers stages 3 and 4, Good Interpersonal Relationships and Maintaining the Social Order. In both stages, morality of a behavior is determined by its effect on social relationships. At this point the person reasons in terms of how a behavior will affect relationships between people, not just the person performing the behavior. In stage 3, the person is concerned with the emotional impact on an interpersonal relationship. The focus is on issues of empathy, care, and relief of suffering. In stage 4, the person recognizes the need for rules that all members of society must follow. For example, people should not steal because society would become unmanageable if everybody stole.


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