Children's moral reasoning: Influence of culture and collaborative discussion

Tzu Jung Lin, Xin Zhang, Yuan Li, Kim Nguyen-Jahiel, Brian Miller, Richard C. Anderson*, Ting Dong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study investigated the effects of culture and collaborative discussion on Chinese and American children's moral reasoning in reflective essays that they composed about a moral and practical dilemma. In contrast to American children who frequently expressed egocentric concerns, Chinese children exhibited altruistic tendencies and expressed more concern for maintaining in-group harmony, which are the core values advocated in collectivist culture. Collaborative discussion promoted children's moral reasoning in both cultures, leading to significantly more consideration of the principles of being honest, having empathy for others, keeping promises, honoring friendship, being trustworthy, and not betraying others by tattling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-522
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Cognition and Culture
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Altruism
  • Argumentation
  • Collaborative Reasoning
  • Collectivism
  • Individualism
  • Moral reasoning


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