Study of Social Cognitions

Other areas of psychological research are concerned with the topic of children's "social cognitions," which subsumes the topic of morals and considers other issues such as empathy, attribution, and motivations. One area that has come to light is the issue of the effect of the emotions on cognitions and their contribution to moral judgments. For example, it has been shown that people in a good mood are more likely to help someone else than those in a bad mood. Expanding on this premise, other research has demonstrated that even the way people perceive an object or situation is closely linked to their psychological or emotional states at the time. Even concrete perceptions can be changed by a person's state of being. One example is that people who are poor actually judge the size of a quarter to be larger than do people who are rich.

As cognitive theories begin to consider the interactive components that emotions have in cognitions, new methods of study and new theoretical predictions will change the way cognitive psychologists study such areas as problem solving, decision making, reasoning, and memory. Each of these areas is independently related to the study of moral development and should affect the way psychologists think about how people acquire and think about morality within society.

In addition, as society increases in sophistication and technology, new issues will emerge that will strain old theories. Issues that are particular to new generations will result in new ways of thinking about morality that were not faced by past generations. The direction that moral development goes is ultimately highly dependent on the problems of the current society.

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