Morality in the classroom: Experimental tests of moral learning in the preschool period
Nadia Chernyak

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Cornell University

Primary Discipline

Much of morality is acquired by the preschool period, but little is known about the specific mechanisms for how morality is learned, or how early childhood educators may contribute to young children�s moral acquisition. The studies outlined in this proposal test three concepts related to moral acquisition. Studies 1 and 2 tests how schooling and culture affects whether young children are more likely to view themselves and others as moral agents (people capable of acting morally and immorally). Study 3 tests how 2-year-old children evaluate adult-given explanations for rules, and which types of explanations are more likely to elicit rule-following behaviors. Finally, Study 4a tests how providing children with choice relates to sharing behavior. Study 4b provides evidence that choice increases intrinsic motivation by allowing children to learn about their own preferences. Together, the studies aim to paint a more complete picture of how morality is learned during the preschool years.
About Nadia Chernyak

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