ERIC Number: EJ1039313
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
"Helping" versus "Being a Helper": Invoking the Self to Increase Helping in Young Children
Bryan, Christopher J.; Master, Allison; Walton, Gregory M.
Child Development, v85 n5 p1836-1842 Sep-Oct 2014
Can a subtle linguistic cue that invokes the self motivate children to help? In two experiments, 3- to 6-year-old children (N = 149) were exposed to the idea of "being a helper" (noun condition) or "helping" (verb condition). Noun wording fosters the perception that a behavior reflects an identity--the kind of person one is. Both when children interacted with an adult who referenced "being a helper" or "helping" ("Experiment 1") and with a new adult ("Experiment 2"), children in the noun condition helped significantly more across four tasks than children in the verb condition or a baseline control condition. The results demonstrate that children are motivated to pursue a positive identity. Moreover, this motivation can be leveraged to encourage prosocial behavior.
Descriptors: Young Children, Helping Relationship, Cues, Motivation Techniques, Help Seeking, Preschool Children, Prosocial Behavior, Social Psychology, Social Science Research, Social Cognition
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A