Kibbutz, Israeli city, and American children's moral reasoning about prosocial moral conflicts

Ina Fuchs, Nancy Eisenberg, Rachel Hertz-Lazarowitz, Ruth Sharabany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prosocial moral reasoning of Israeli city, kibbutz, and American third graders were compared. Children responded to four moral dilemmas about helping situations. Although there were considerable similarities in reasoning across the three groups, there also were clear differences. When American children were compared with Israeli children (kibbutz and city children combined), Americans used more needs-oriented (primitive empathic) reasoning, whereas Israelis used more reasoning related to direct reciprocity, prior relations with others, internalized laws and norms, role taking, the humanness of potential recipients, and (marginally) hedonistic concerns. According to the comparison of all three groups, Americans used more primitive empathic reasoning; kibbutz children verbalized more concerns with the humanness of recipients and internalized laws and norms; and Israeli city children expressed more reasoning based on explicit role taking. Possible reasons for these cultural differences and their significance are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-50
Number of pages14
JournalMerrill-Palmer Quarterly (1982-)
StatePublished - 1986


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