Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
John C. Gibbs
The emergence, socialization, and growth of morality are of major importance in the social and behavioral sciences. Psychological theories have conceptualized the processes and origins of moral development in three major ways. First, theorists posit biology as the source of moral development, the natural emergence of an empathic predisposition. Second, they locate morality's source in society , the socialization or internalization of a society's prescriptive norms and values. Third, they feature mental coordination of perspectives as the primary source, the construction of mature moral judgment. Integrative theories or comprehensive views of moral development and prosocial behavior have appeared in the early twenty-first century. Researchers have observed prosocial or cooperative behavior in ethological studies of mammalian social groups. Chimpanzee groups engage in cooperative hunting, share meat after a kill, groom one another, and practice adoption of a motherless infant. Humans beyond infancy are likely to help others in distress, at least ...