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Morality Play

Universal concerns, not cultural values, may shape kids’ developing notions of right and wrong

A 10-year-old Chinese boy listens intently as a visiting researcher tells him a story. It begins pleasantly enough: A boy named Xiaoming goes to a park and meets a child playing with a new ball. But after joining in the fun, Xiaoming decides that he wants to play with the ball alone. So he hits the other child, knocks him down and lunges for the ball. The victim hangs on to the ball and runs home crying.

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