Handbook of Moral Development  book cover
2nd Edition

Handbook of Moral Development

ISBN 9780203581957
Published October 8, 2013 by Psychology Press
600 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Handbook of Moral Development is the definitive source of theory and research on the development of morality. Since the publication of the first edition, ground-breaking approaches to studying the development of morality have re-invigorated debates about what it means to conceptualize and measure morality in early childhood, how children understand fairness and equality, what the evolutionary basis is for morality, and the role of culture. The contributors of this new edition grapple with these questions and provide answers for how morality originates, changes, evolves, and develops during childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. Thoroughly updated and expanded, the second edition features new chapters that focus on:

  • infancy
  • neuroscience
  • theory of mind
  • moral personality and identity
  • cooperation and culture
  • gender, sexuality, prejudice and discrimination

Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the study of moral development, this edition contains contributions from over 50 scholars in developmental science, cognitive psychology, social neuroscience, comparative psychology and evolution, and education.

Table of Contents

Contributors include:

William Arsenio, Courtney Ball, Chloe G. Bland, Paul Bloom, Gustavo Carlo, Maria Paula Chaparro, Shelby Cooley, Jean Decety, Judy Dunn, Nancy Eisenberg, Angela D. Evans, Joan E. Grusec, Daniel Hart, Paul D. Hasti ngs, Charles C. Helwig, Stacey S. Horn, Lauren H. Howard, Marc Jambon, Keith Jensen, Megan Johnston, Sarah Kahle, Melanie Killen, Ariel Knafo, Leon Kuczynski, Kristin Hansen Lagattuta, Kang Lee, Tina Malti , M. Kyle Matsuba, Joan G. Miller, Jonas G. Miller, Amanda Morris, Theresa Murzyn, Larry P. Nucci, Sophia F. Ongley, Michele Peterson-Badali, Holly Recchia, Martin D. Ruck, Amanda Sherman, Joan B. Silk, Stefanie Sinno, Judith G. Smetana, Tracy L. Spinrad, Ross A. Thompson, Michael Tomasello, Elliot Turiel, Amrisha Vaish, Cecilia Wainryb, Lawrence J. Walker, Drika Weller, Karen Wynn, Carolyn Zahn-Waxler.

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Melanie Killen, Ph.D., is Professor of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, Professor of Psychology (Affiliate), and Associate Director of the Center for Children, Relationships, and Culture at the University of Maryland. 

Judith G. Smetana, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Rochester, where she also held the Frederika Warner Chair of Human Development.


"Each day of our lives, it seems, we read about or even experience some act we deem moral or amoral, just or unjust, fair or unfair. It is not for no reason that the likes of Locke and Hobbes, Darwin and Freud were drawn to profound questions about human morality. What are the developmental roots of moral judgments and behavior? Morality, we now know, occupies a central nexus in an array of significant influences: biological, personological, social, economic, cultural, and evolutionary.  Intrigued? Then the place to turn is the new, erudite, and very welcome edition of the Handbook of Moral Development. Here, two world-renown expert editors have assembled stellar contributors who offer in-depth state-of-the-art conceptual and empirical treatments of the full spectrum of major topics that are bound up in the challenging but essential issue that is human morality."

Marc H. Bornstein, Editor, Parenting: Science and Practice

"This new edition of Killen and Smetana’s esteemed Handbook is forward looking without being trendy, representing beautifully the complexity of contemporary research on moral development. With theoretical depth, a multidisciplinary sweep, and comprehensive topical focus, it is an essential reference for anyone who is serious about understanding this field."

Anne Colby, Stanford University

"For years I have relied heavily on Killen & Smetana's Handbook of Moral Development in my courses on human development. There is no comparable source on the essential subject of moral and character formation. In its comprehensiveness, timeliness, and range, the new edition increases the usefulness of this invaluable resource. The Killen and Smetana Handbook is indispensable for all scholars interested in the acquisition of morality throughout life."
William Damon, Stanford University

"The first edition of the Handbook of Moral Development was a watershed event in integrating and enhancing scholarship about moral development.  The second edition extends this singular contribution and, once again, is required reading for current and future generations of developmental scientists."

Richard M. Lerner, Tufts University

"This completely revised edition of the Handbook documents the most recent achievements in moral development theory and research. It is written by the leading experts in the field and highlights the many facets of morality, its correlates and antecedents. It is a highly valuable interdisciplinary resource for researchers, academic teachers and students."

Monika Keller, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

"This new edition of the Handbook forms an indispensable guide for anyone interested in the highly relevant, exiting and ever expanding field of moral development. It maintains the primary source in the field by providing an overview of classical theories, established findings, disciplinary approaches, and new, innovative areas of investigation. Organized into six sections, the highly readable chapters offer an extensive, state-of-the-art description of theory and research on moral development. The handbook presents a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the field and is a must read for anyone interested in the ongoing academic, political and societal debates about morality."

Maykel Verkuyten, Utrecht University