Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Edwards, C.P. (1986). Cross‑cultural research on Kohlberg's stages: The basis for consensus. In S. Modgil & C. Modgil (Eds.), Lawrence Kohlberg: Consensus and Controversy (pp. 419‑430).Sussex,England: Falmer Press Limited.


Reprinted in Bill Puka (Ed.), 1994. Moral Development: A Compendium. Vol. 5, New Research in Moral Development (pp. 373-394).New York:Garland Publishers.


Kohlberg’s stage theory has been met by many theoretical statements attempting to refute aspects of his conclusions or claims about cultural universality. Equally of importance, the theoretical controversy has stimulated much empirical research intended to test the cross-cultural claims. This chapter reviews the status and current progress of comparative studies of moral judgment and addresses the following three questions: Is the dilemma interview method a valid way of eliciting the moral judgments of people in other cultures? Is the standard scoring system appropriate and valid for cross-cultural use? Is cognitive-developmental theory useful for understanding psychological development in comparative cultural perspective? I will argue why the work as a whole can be considered productive, tending toward increased rather than diminished understanding of moral reasoning worldwide.