Ep 210: How to Memorize Kolhberg’s Stages of Moral Development

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Need to memorize Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development really quickly? This is what you’re looking for – a brief audio podcast in which I give you some crazy images that will stick in your mind for a really long time. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll have the six stages memorized. Some of my listeners have said that the mnemonics they’ve learned here have stuck in the stuck in their head for years! Whether you are studying for a psychology test or a nursing exam, you will find this a fun and effective way to learn. I challenge you to listen to this episode and then quiz yourself a few hours later. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Let’s memorize!


Mnemonic Imagery for Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

  • Three levels in the theory: “PCP”: Preconventional, Conventional and Postconventional.
  • Three people to represent those levels: a Preacher a Convict and a Postman.
  • Preconventional: stage 1 keyword: obedience (“bees and ants”), stage 2 keyword: self-interest (we’ll use “fish” for selfish interest): picture a preacher smacking bees and ants with a fish.
  • Conventional: stage 3 keyword: societal norms (“a guy named Norm”), stage 4 keyword: law and order (a prison): picture: a convict with the name “Norm” written across his chest who is behind prison bars.
  • Postconventional: stage 5 keyword: social contract, stage 6 keyword: universal principles. Picture: a postman delivering two things to your house – a contract you have to sign and your latest edition of Universe Today magazine.

Using the “1 is a Bun” Approach to Memorizing Kohlberg’s Stages

  • 1 is a bun and the key term from Kohlberg’s model is obedience: imagine a bun with bees and ants crawling all over it (yuk)
  • 2 is a shoe and the key tern is self-interest: picture a fish wearing shoes
  • 3 is a tree and the key term is societal norms: picture a guy names Norm sitting in a tree, or a tree whose leaves spell out the name Norm
  • 4 is a door and the key term is law and order: picture a policeman holding up a door or knocking on your door
  • 5 is a hive and the key term is social contract: picture bees sitting on top of a hive shaking hands in agreement) or signing a contract
  • 6 is sticks and the key term is universal principles: picture the Milky Way made out of sticks instead of stars

One Comment on ““Ep 210: How to Memorize Kolhberg’s Stages of Moral Development”

  1. Toby

    I know we devote a whopping 1/3 of our brain to visual cortex but was just wondering if the memorization always had, or should, be visual imagery? For instance, when you mentioned Law & Order I immediately thought of that opening sound, "dun dun"!

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