John Templeton Foundation Awards $1.9 Million for Research Into Moral Development of Children

The John Templeton Foundation has awarded $1.9 million to Jacqueline Lerner, a researcher at Boston College's Lynch School of Education, and Tufts University research assistant professor Edmond Bowers for a three-year study focused on the moral development of children and teens, the Boston College Chronicle reports.

Building on Lerner's prior research, the new study will focus on self-control, or intentional self-regulation, and the importance of adult role models in the moral decision making and behavior of children and teens. According to Lerner, exploring the relationships between youth and their moral role models may reveal how such interactions can be used to guide youth development positively.

"When these internal assets and positive character exemplars line up in the lives of children, they have a good chance to develop positively," said Lerner. "We'd like to learn from the positive experiences involved in the moral development of children — what they are doing right — rather than focus on negative acts or decisions. We think there are some insights to be gained from this approach."