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von Borries, Bodo. “(Re-)Constructing History and Moral Judgment: On Relationships Between Interpretations of the Past and Perceptions of the Present.” In Cognitive and Instructional Processes in History and the Social Sciences, edited by James F. Voss and Mario Carretero, 339-55. Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1994.


This study is a report on the relationship between historical construction, moral decision, general concepts of historical progress, and mental operations of historical insight. Specifically, in this chapter von Borries reports on a 1991 pilot, quantitative study conducted with 1,000 students from sixth, ninth, and twelfth grade classrooms in Germany.

Generally, results indicate that as students get older they move away from a tendency to remain neutral and begin to formulate opinions about who acted correctly and incorrectly in a particular historical event. More specifically, cognition was highly dependent on grade level and there was a weak relationship between gender and cognition where it was found that boys knew a bit more than girls. Further, the author found that girls and younger students were less interested in history than boys and older students. Lastly, the dimension referring to moral judgments was closely related to gender.

Ana Laura Pauchulo