New research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) argues that children’s ability to make moral judgements has often been substantially underestimated. “The long-held claim has been that young children judge according to the outcome of an event, rather than according to the person’s intention. If that is the case, then children’s moral judgments are fundamentally different from adults’. “However, our findings indicate that for methodological reasons, children’s ability to make similar intention-based judgements has often been substantially underestimated. We show that they can be remarkably adult-like in their thinking. The implication is that even young children, from around the age of 4, can make intention-based moral judgements, just like adults.” “If adults get a judgement wrong then a 5-year-old child is bound to get it wrong too, so we looked at whether the authors of the original studies asked the appropriate, relevant question,” said Dr Nobes.
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