discuss peer attachment; see Youniss & Smollar, 1985). Imitation and identification lead to conformance to parents normative expectations through the perception of similarity to the attachment foci (shared self), a perception of the greater competence of the parent/ mentor/group attachment, and consequent idealization of their virtue.
The motivation to act morally comes from the attachment cluster of the following: (a) empathy with the object(s) of attachment, (b) the vicarious self- esteem derived from identification with the idealized moral virtue of the attachment object(s), and (c) feelings of obligation to persons and relationships to whom the self is attached. These features of the motivation to act morally can be considered to be a balance between effectance motivation and self-valuation (self-esteem).
We have argued that the concept of attachment is enhanced by the cognitive- developmental view that stresses that imitation is a cognitive act. Imitation is the first "stage" of attachment and leads the way to identification. Identification is a second stage in which imitation qualitatively changes from an interchange of concrete and specific acts to that of generalized and symbolic interaction. We represented this move as critical for the cognitive internalization of Mead ( 1934) "generalized other" or Baldwin ( 1906) idealized "socius." The result of identification evolves into moral attachment and a third stage, the creation of a moral self.
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