Early Experience and Triune Ethics Orientations

with Tracy Gleason, Jennifer Burke Lefever, Lijuan Wang, Ying Cheng
  • Darcia Narvaez


This chapter reviews studies conducted on how caregiving practices in early life influence moral capacities and triune ethics orientations (self-protection or open-heartedness). The Evolved Developmental Niche (EDN), as identified by anthropologists, represents the caregiving environment adaptive for our human ancestors. It includes responsivity so the baby does not get distressed, nearly constant touch in the first years of life, extensive breastfeeding on request, extensive free play with others, multiple adult caregivers, and positive climate and social support. Reviewed are studies with parenting reports, research into precursors of triune ethics meta-theory (TEM) categories in young children, and data from adult retrospective reports. The results conformed with theory—that early experience is related to attachment, psychopathology, moral capacities, and the types of triune ethics orientation one favors.


Moral Development Corporal Punishment Secure Attachment Moral Capacity Nurture Parenting 
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© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darcia Narvaez
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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