About Social Domain Theory (SDT)
Social Domain Theory (SDT) is a theory of moral psychology that examines social reasoning and behavior from a developmental perspective. It was developed by Elliot Turiel, Judi Smetana and Larry Nucci in the 1970s and 1980s. Currently, there are hundreds of researchers around the world working on Social Domain Theory.
Research in Social Domain Theory finds that most people distinguish moral issues that involve actions having an impact on the welfare and rights of others, from conventional issues pertaining to actions whose status as right or wrong is determined by prevailing social norms, standards or customs. Extensive research in Social Domain Theory shows that children as young as 2.5 years old make this distinction when judging prototypical issues. These two forms of social regulation are in turn differentiated from judgments about a personal domain of privacy and discretion around actions with consequences primarily upon the self. Many social contexts such as judgments about friendships and social exclusion involve coordination across domains. As people age, they become more capable of reasoning about multifaceted and complicated social issues.