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Social Domain Theory guided introduction to readings
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Guided Introduction to Readings in Social Domain Theory

This reading list provides a three-tier introduction to classic readings for you to learn about theory, review, and empirical work relevant to the Social Domain Theory community.

Initial Introduction: The Basics


Empirical Articles

Round 2: Once you get your feet wet


Empirical Articles

Tier 3: Best served after some background in developmental theory


Empirical Articles


Initial Introduction: The Basics


Killen, M. & Smetana, J. (2015). Origins and development of morality. In R. Lerner (Editor-in-Chief) & M. Lamb (Vol. Ed.), Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science: Volume 3. Socioemotional processes (7th ed., 701-749). NY: Wiley-Blackwell.

Nucci, L. (2001). Education in the moral domain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Smetana, J. & Jambon, M. (2018). Parenting, morality, and social development: New views on old questions. In C. Helwig (Ed.) New perspectives on moral development (pp. 121-139). New York: Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis.

Smetana, J., Jambon, M., & Ball, C. (2014). The social domain approach to children's moral and social judgments. In M. Killen & J. Smetana (Eds.) Handbook of moral development, 2nd edition (pp. 23-45). New York, NY: Psychology Press

Turiel, E. (2010). The development of morality: Reasoning, emotions, and resistance. In W. F. Overton & R. M. Lerner (2010). Handbook of life-span development, Vol. 1: Cognition, biology, and methods (pp. 554-583). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Turiel, E., & Smetana, J. G. (1984). Social knowledge and social action: The coordination of domains. In W. M. Kurtines & J. L. Gewirtz (Eds.), Morality, moral behavior, and moral development:Basic issues in theory and research (pp. 261–282). New York: Wiley.


Empirical Articles

Nucci, L. P., & Nucci, M. S. (1982). Children's social interactions in the context of moral and conventional transgressions. Child Development, 53, 403-412.

Smetana, J. G. (1981). Preschool children's conceptions of moral and social rules. Child Development, 52, 1333-1336.

Wainryb, C. (1991). Understanding differences in moral judgments: The role of informational assumptions. Child Development, 62, 840-851.

Zelazo, P., Helwig, C. C., & Lau, A. (1996). Intention, act, and outcome in behavioral prediction and moral judgment. Child Development, 67, 2478-2492.

Round 2: Once you get your feet wet


Helwig, C. (2006). Rights, civil liberties, and democracy across cultures. In J. Smetana & M. Killen (Eds.), Handbook of Moral Development (pp. 185-210). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Killen, M. & Dahl, A. (2018). Moral judgment: Reflective, interactive, spontaneous, challenging, and always evolving. In K. Gray & J. Graham (Eds.), Moral atlas (pp. 20-30). Guilford Press.

Killen, M., & Smetana, J., (2008). Moral judgment and moral neuroscience: Intersections, definitions, and issues. Child Development Perspectives, 2, 1-6.

Nucci, L. (2019). Character: A developmental system. Child Development Perspectives, 13, 78-83.

Smetana, J., & Turiel, E. (2003). Moral development during adolescence. In G. R. Adams & M. D. Berzonsky (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of adolescence (xxvii ed., pp. 248-268). Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

Turiel, E. (2002). The culture of morality: Social development, context, and conflict. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Turiel, E. (2010b). The relevance of moral epistemology and psychology for neuroscience. In P. Zelazo, M. Chandler, & E. Crone (Eds.), Developmental social cognitive neuroscience (pp. 313-331). New York: Taylor & Francis.

Wainryb, C., & Brehl, B. (2006). I thought she knew that would hurt my feelings: Developing psychological knowledge and moral thinking. In R. Kail (Ed.) Advances in Child Development and Behavior, (pp. 131-171). New York: Elsevier.

 Empirical Articles

Helwig, C., Hildebrandt, C., & Turiel, E. (1995). Children’s judgments about psychological harm in social context. Child Development, 66, 1680-1693.

Kahn, P. H. (1992). Children's obligatory and discretionary moral judgments. Child Development, 63, 416-430.

Killen, M., Lee-Kim, J., McGlothlin, H., & Stangor, C. (2002). How children and adolescents evaluate gender and racism. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 67(4).

Nucci, L., & Turiel, E. (1993). God’s word, religious rules, and their relation to Christian and Jewish children’s concepts of morality. Child Development, 64, 1475-1491.

Nucci, L. P., Guerra, N., & Lee, J. (1991).  Adolescent judgments of the personal, prudential, and normative aspects of drug usage. Developmental Psychology, 27, 841-848.

Smetana, J. G., Kelly, M., & Twentyman, C. T. (1984). Abused, neglected, and nonmaltreated children's conceptions of moral and conventional transgressions. Child Development, 55, 277-287

Turiel, E., Hildebrandt, C., & Wainryb, C. (1991). Judging social issues: Difficulties, inconsistencies, and consistencies. Monographs for the Society for Research in Child Development, 56 (2)

Wainryb, C., Brehl, B., & Matwin, S. (2005). Being hurt and hurting others: Children’s narrative accounts and moral judgments of their own interpersonal conflicts. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 70, (3).


Tier 3: Best served after some background in developmental theory


Helwig, C. (1995). Social context in social cognition: Psychological harm and civil liberties. In M. Killen & D. Hart (Eds.), Morality in Everyday Life: Developmental Perspectives (pp. 166-200). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Nucci, L. (1996). Morality and the personal sphere of actions. In E. Reed, E. Turiel, & E. Brown (Eds.), Knowledge and Values (pp.41-60). Hillsdale, NJ: Earlbaum.

Nucci, L. P., & Lee, J. (1993). Morality and personal autonomy.  In G. G. Noam & T. Wren (Eds.), The moral self: Building a better paradigm (pp. 123-148). Cambridge: MIT Press. [Recommend reading Nucci & Lee (1993) before Nucci (1996)]

Nucci, L. P., Turiel. E., & Roded, A. (2017). Continuities and discontinuities in the development of moral judgments. Human Development,60, 279-341. 

Turiel, E. (1983). The development of social knowledge: Morality and convention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Turiel, E., Killen, M., & Helwig, C. (1987). Morality: Its structure, functions, and vagaries. In J. Kagan & S. Lamb (Eds.), The emergence of morality in young children (pp. 155-243). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [SHOULD ALSO READ Shweder in same volume]

Empirical Articles

Dahl, A., Gingo, M., Uttich, K., & Turiel, E. (2018). Moral reasoning about human welfare in adolescents and adults: Judging conflicts involving sacrificing and saving lives. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 83(3), 7–30.

Helwig, C. (1997). The role of agent and social context in judgments of freedom of speech and religion. Child Development, 68, 484-495.

Perkins, S. A., & Turiel, E. (2007). To lie or not to lie: To whom and under what circumstances.       Child Development, 78, 609-621.

Shaw, L., & Wainryb, C. (2006). When victims don’t cry: Children’s understandings of             victimization, compliance, and subversion. Child Development, 77, 1050-1062.

Smetana, J., Jambon, M., Conry-Murray, C., & Sturge-Apple, M. (2012). Reciprocal associations between young children’s developing moral judgments and theory of mind. Developmental Psychology, 48, 1144-1155.

Tisak, M., & Turiel, E. (1988). Variation in seriousness of transgressions and children's moral and conventional concepts. Developmental Psychology, 24, 352-357.

Wainryb, C., & Turiel, E. (1994). Dominance, subordination, and concepts of personal entitlements in cultural contexts. Child Development, 65, 1701-1722.