Moral development and reconstructive memory: Recalling a decision to terminate an unplanned pregnancy

Georgia Blackburne-Stover, Mary F. Belenky, Carol Gilligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investigated the relationship between cognitive development, as measured by changes in the Moral Development Scale, and long-term reconstructive memory in 24 15-33 yr old females. The hypothesis that the past is reconstructed to conform with current developmental stages was examined. Results indicate that when developmental gains were made over a 1-yr interval, Ss used a higher stage perspective to reconstruct the decision making involved in resolving a problematic pregnancy and, hence, reconstructed the events in different terms than were originally presented. When developmental gains were not made over a 1-yr interval, Ss reconstructed the events in the same terms as originally presented. Further analysis indicated that those Ss who made developmental gains also referred to a phenomenon of "memory loss." Results support the hypothesis that memory is reconstructive rather than reproductive. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-870
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1982


  • cognitive/moral development, long-term reconstructive memory of decision to terminate unplanned pregnancy, 15-33 yr old females

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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