ERIC Number: ED248049
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-May
Reference Count: 0
The Role of Affective Perspective-Taking Ability and Empathic Disposition in the Child's Machiavellianism, Prosocial Behavior, and Motive for Helping.
Barnett, Mark A.; Thompson, Shannon
This study examined the interactive role of empathic disposition and affective perspective-taking ability (APT) in children's machiavellianism, prosocial behavior, and motive for helping. Children demonstrating low empathy and high APT were expected to be highly machiavellian and to cite self-oriented reasons for helping more frequently than would their age-mates. Highly empathic children were predicted to be more helpful and to cite other-oriented reasons for their own helping behavior more frequently than would less empathic children. Finally, highly empathic children who demonstrated high APT were expected to be more helpful than peers when the need of the other was subtle and required inference. The 61 fourth graders and 56 fifth graders participating in the study were categorized into high and low empathy and APT groups based on their scores on the Bryant empathy scale and a modified version of APT measures developed by Rothenberg and by Silvern et al. Findings indicated that children in the low empathy/high APT group had significantly higher machiavellian scores than did children in the other empathy/APT groups. Highly empathic children were rated by their teachers as more helpful under certain circumstances; these children cited other-oriented reasons for their own helping behavior more frequently than did less empathic children. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Affective Perspective Taking; Machiavellianism
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (Chicago, IL, May 2-5, 1984).