Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The present study identified specific observable and measurable behaviors in Deer group interactions that contributed to cooperation among the group members. A determination as to whether groups of children who scored high on a moral judgment measure interacted more cooperatively than groups of children who scored low on the same measure was desired. It was expected that groups of children scoring high on a test of moral judgment would exhibit more behaviors contributing to group cooperation than groups scoring low.

There were two parts to the study: initially, six specific behaviors found in peer group interactions that seemed to contribute to overall cooperation among group members were isolated, and a system for scoring these behaviors as they occurred was devised. The basis for identification of these behaviors were Piaget's observations of children's social games. Secondly, five groups of children scoring high on a test of moral judgment and five groups scoring low were formed. The children interacted by performing a group task— inventing a game from a collection of standard materials. While they performed the task, raters scored their behavior for amount of cooperation. The data was analyzed in two ways. First, the five high and the five low moral judgment grouDS were compared on each of the six identified cooperative behaviors to determine if differences existed between the high and low groups on any one specific behavior. Then, the high and low moral judgment groups were compared in general on all of the identified cooperative behaviors combined to determine whether overall differences between the two types of groups existed.

The results suggested that moral judgment level related to amount of coooerativeness displayed in a peer group, especially when cooperativeness was measured by the number of group members who offered one or more opinions about the group task. High moral judgment groups consistently showed more cooperative behaviors than the low moral judgment groups although not all of the differences were statistically significant.