Moral Discourse Processing

The processing of moral discourse or moral information processing has to do with how people comprehend moral events in stories, activities and in real life. We have studied moral information processing or moral discourse processing with story comprehension (theme comprehension, recall, ratings of importance of story events, inferences made while reading) and with videogame effects on finishing stories. See Narvaez (2002) for a review of individual difference effects on processing.

Published Papers

van den Broek, P., Rohleder, L. & Narvaez, D. (1994). Cognitive processes in the comprehension of literary texts. In H. van Oostendorp & R. Zwaan (Eds.) Naturalistic Text ComprehensionVol. LIIIAdvances in Discourse Processes (pp. 229-246). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Narvaez, D. (1998).  The effects of moral schemas on the reconstruction of moral narratives in 8th grade and college students.  Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(1), 13-24.


Narvaez, D., Bentley, J., Gleason, T., Samuels, J. (1998).  Moral theme comprehension in third grade, fifth grade and college studentsReading Psychology, 19(2), 217-241.


Narvaez, D., & Mitchell, C. (1999). Schemas, culture, and moral texts. (In M. Leicester, C. Modgil, & S. Modgil, Eds.) Education, Culture and Values (Vol. IV of Moral Education and Pluralism) (pp. 149-157). London: Falmer Press.


Narvaez, D., van den Broek, P., and Ruiz, A.  (1999). Reading purpose, type of text and their influence on think-aloud and comprehension measuresJournal of Educational Psychology, 91(3), 488-496.


Narvaez, D., Gleason, T., Mitchell, C. & Bentley, J. (1999). Moral theme comprehension in childrenJournal of Educational Psychology, 91(3), 477-487.

              Reprinted in D. Boyd & G. Stevens (Ed.), Current Readings in Lifespan Development (pp. 73-87). Allyn & Bacon.


Narvaez, D. (1999). Using discourse processing methods to study moral thinkingEducational Psychology Review, 11 (4), 377-394.


Rest, J. R., Narvaez, D., Bebeau, M., & Thoma, S. (2000). A neo-Kohlbergian approach to morality researchJournal of Moral Education, 29 (4), 381-395.

Reprinted in Mason, M. (2004). Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Cognitive Science. McGraw-Hill.

Narvaez, D. (2001).  Moral text comprehension: Implications for education and research.  Journal of Moral Education, 30 (1), 43-54.


Narvaez, D. (2002). Individual differences that influence reading comprehension.  In M. Pressley & C. C. Block  (Eds.), Reading Comprehension Instruction (pp. 158-175). New York: Guilford.


Narvaez, D. (2002). Does reading moral stories build characterEducational Psychology Review 14(2), 155-171.

Narvaez, D. & Bock, T. (2002). Moral schemas and tacit judgement or how the Defining Issues Test is supported by cognitive science.  Journal of Moral Education, 31 (3) 297-314.

Narvaez, D., Lapsley, D., Hagele, S., & Lasky, B. (2006). Moral chronicity and social information processing: Tests of a social cognitive approach to the moral personality.  Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 966–985.

Narvaez, D., & Gleason, T. (2007). The Influence of moral judgment development and moral experience on comprehension of moral narratives and expository textsThe Journal of Genetic Psychology, special issue (Nancy Eisenberg, editor), 168(3), 251–276.

Narvaez, D., Mattan, B., MacMichael, C., & Squillace, M. (2008). Kill bandits, collect gold or save the dying: the effects of playing a prosocial video game. Media Psychology Review. 1 (1).


Narvaez, D., Gleason, T., & Mitchell, C. (2010). Moral virtue and practical wisdom: Theme comprehension in children, youth and adults. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 171(4), 1-26.

Narvaez, D., Radvansky, G.A., Lynchard, N., & Copeland, D. (2011). Are older adults more attuned to morally-charged information? Experimental Aging Research, 37, 1-37.


Narvaez, D. (in press). The Ethics of Neurobiological Narratives. Poetics Today, special issue on Narrative and the Emotions