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Moral Development and RealityBeyond the Theories of Kohlberg, Hoffman, and Haidt$
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John C. Gibbs

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190878214

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190878214.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 October 2021

Understanding Antisocial Behavior

Understanding Antisocial Behavior

7 Understanding Antisocial Behavior
Moral Development and Reality

John C. Gibbs

Oxford University Press

The referent for social behavior shifts in this chapter to antisocial behavior and how to account for it. Most offenders, from petty pranksters to ideological terrorists, fail (except for self-serving purposes) to take the perspectives of their victims. Social perspective-taking limitations pervade the “three Ds” of antisocial youth: moral developmental delay, self-serving cognitive distortions, and social skills deficiencies. The latter variables are needed to supplement Kohlberg’s and Hoffman’s emphasis on developmental delay if we are adequately to account for antisocial behavior. The chapter concludes with the powerful illustrative case of Timothy McVeigh. This case makes particularly clear how cognitive distortions can insulate a self-centered worldview (itself a primary distortion, linked to feeling superior or inadequately respected); that is, self-serving distortions can preempt or neutralize social perspective-taking, moral understanding, and veridical empathy.

Keywords:   antisocial behavior, social perspective-taking, egocentrism, social skill, cognitive bias, moral stage developmental delay

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