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

Need to memorize Kohlberg’s moral development stages really quickly? You’re in for a treat. In this episode, we’ll explore a swift and effective method to help you master these stages. No need to worry – we won’t drown you in details. Instead, we’ve got clever techniques and memorable associations that will make these stages stick in your memory.

Imagine this: a person valiantly brandishing a fish, fending off a swarm of bees. Curious, right? This quirky scene encapsulates preconventional behavior – a story of selfishness and obedience. Meanwhile, a diligent postman arrives at your doorstep with two intriguing offerings, subtly hinting at the notion of a social contract. And let’s not forget Norm, the figure behind bars. Norm exemplifies social norms and the complexities of moral decision-making.

As this episode unfolds, we’ll let our creativity roam freely, weaving these visuals into the fabric of each stage – from the zealous preacher to the contemplative convict, and even the discerning postman. Don’t worry; we’ve got strategies to help you remember the intricacies of the social contract, and we’ll even coax those busy bees into signing one atop their hive.

But wait, there’s more! Before we dive into the core content, we’ve got exhilarating news to share. The Psych Files podcast has reached a remarkable milestone – over 20 million downloads! This achievement is all thanks to dedicated listeners like you. To commemorate this feat, we’ve curated our finest memory-enhancing strategies into an audio course titled “Hippos, Aliens, and Llamas: Unleash Your Memory Mastery.” It’s readily available at

So, get ready to conquer the challenge of memorizing Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. Together, we’ll unlock the enigmas of the mind and deepen our understanding of human moral behaviors. Stay tuned for a spellbinding episode on The Psych Files!




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  1. Avatar


    November 20, 2013

    All the images, video and other mnemonics for Kohlberg, Freud, Erikson and more are in the app!

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    November 20, 2013

    The audio was great! I don’t see any options to download PDF files or videos. Is there a section or do I need the app?

    Thank you this – very helpful!

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    November 20, 2013

    Kohlberg –> Cohlberg on PCP. The Preacher has to obey or he will be punished so he sells fish (Jesus Fish) to the congregation. The Convict isn’t having it. He conforms to the norms of society so he stays home and binge watches Law and Order. The doorbell rings and it’s the Post-Man delivering a contract but he realizes he’s at the wrong house so he makes a U-turn OR U-reversal*(Universal a stretch I know lol). You could also insert important persons name that made it to this stage of Moral Development like MLK or Ghandi. Thanks for the help in giving ideas for a way to tie this all together. Hopefully I’ll rock out the MCAT

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    Deborah Lacy

    November 20, 2013

    Very informative. Helpful.

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    November 20, 2013

    “selfish” rhymes with “shellfish” so I imagined a preacher swatting at bees with a lobster (a shellfish).

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    November 20, 2013

    THANK YOU! You have made my studying so much easier. I LOVE your teaching style and approach with mnemonics. I have been struggling for a very long time and wished I would of found your earlier. Thanks!

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    November 20, 2013

    This was really helpful! Thank you!

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    November 20, 2013

    Thank you so much! I’m so glad to hear that. All smiles over here.


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    November 20, 2013

    I am 66 y/o and getting ready for nce test. Wow, these videos are so helpful for this older brain! Thank you!

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    November 20, 2013

    Thank you for such a wonderful comment! Made my day Holly. Good luck on the MCAT!

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    Holly Nauert

    November 20, 2013

    Thank you so much for doing this ! I have to memorize so many stages and definitions for the Psych/soc. section on the MCAT and I could never figure out how to memorize these ! This helps SO much !! Thank you thank you !

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    November 20, 2013

    Just wanted to say thank you. I’m taking the MCAT and need to memorize all the stages for Kohlberg, Freud, and Erikson. And in less than an hour your videos/audios helped me memorize all of them. Keep up the great work. Thank you!

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    November 20, 2013

    This was super helpful. I had to have this down pat for the essay section of my Educational Psychology course, and I just couldn’t get them memorized. This helped more than you can imagine!!!

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    November 20, 2013

    I love it!

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    Erika Nunez

    November 20, 2013

    Hey! While watching your video I thought of a good idea for stage Four (door). You can say Stage 4: Law and Or-(door).

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    Jessica Caccavallo

    November 20, 2013

    5 -hive = hi-five contract/agreement

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    November 20, 2013

    Hi Michael!

    Thank you for all of these podcasts and videos. I’m trying to find the pdf with the images associated with this podcast but I can’t seem to find them. Could you point me in the right direction?

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    November 20, 2013

    I am currently studying for my Mcats and this helped. Thank you, I plan on visiting your site in the future.

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    November 20, 2013

    Most of my images were created by a very talented artist by the name of Polina Shubkina. Check out her website!

  20. Avatar


    November 20, 2013

    Great! Very helpful! I listened and used the PDF. Where do you get your graphics?

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    November 20, 2013

    on the moral behavior of etihcs professors, some for psych journals and some for philosophy journals. I’m thinking that this one is better for a psych journal because it’s pretty heavy on the statistics.Josh Rust and I are presently at work drafting one aimed for a philosophy journal: “The moral behavior of ethicists: Peer opinion”, based on our . Once we’re happy with a draft, I’ll post a link here.

  22. Avatar


    November 20, 2013

    The email should arrive just minutes after you click the download button and it should be from me at this email address: michael AT thepsychfiles DOT com. Feel free to email me at this address if you don’t get the automatic email with the PDF download button.

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    Bhagwant Singh

    November 20, 2013

    sir i cant find pdf download in my email id, what should i do…

  24. Avatar


    November 20, 2013

    Glad to hear it! Thanks for dropping a note to let me know.

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    November 20, 2013

    I love your mnemonics! We’ve been learning Erikson’s 8 stages and Kohlberg’s Moral Development stages in my AP Psych class and your podcasts have really helped me. Thanks so much!

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    November 20, 2013

    Me too!

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    Natasha Alston

    November 20, 2013

    Hi! I love psych!

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    November 20, 2013

    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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