preconventional morality

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The most primitive Kohlberg stage of moral development, in which the child interprets moral behaviour entirely in terms of personal gain and loss. It is divided into two levels: at Level 1 the child's moral behaviour is guided by the avoidance of punishment (I should not tell lies because I might get into trouble), and at Level 2 it is influenced also by the desire for gain (I should not tell lies because then my parents will reward me). Compare conventional morality, postconventional morality.

Subjects: Psychology.

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