ERIC Number: ED078952
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973
Reference Count: 0
The Development of Empathy in Chinese and American Children Between Three and Six Years of Age: A Cross-Cultural Study.
A series of social interaction situations representing the four emotions of happy, afraid, sad, and angry were administered to 288 American children and 288 Chinese children. Twenty-four girls and 24 boys, half from middle class families and half from disadvantaged families, were tested at six-month intervals between 3 and 6 years of age. Children from both cultural groups exhibited similar overall trends in their ability to recognize other people's emotional responses. By 3 years of age, the majority of American and Chinese children could differentiate between happy and unhappy reactions in other people. Perception of afraid, sad and angry feelings developed somewhat later, and appeared to be influenced by social learning. This cross-cultural study confirms the results of a previous investigation that very young children are capable of empathic responses. The awareness of other people's feelings by young children from very different cultural backgrounds suggests that empathy may be a basic human characteristic related to social adaptation. (Author)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: Carnegie-Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA. Dept. of Psychology.
Note: Journal of Developmental Psychology (in press), 1973