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ERIC Number: EJ1050058
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Oct
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Do Young Toddlers Act on Their Social Preferences?
Dahl, Audun; Schuck, Rachel K.; Campos, Joseph J.
Developmental Psychology, v49 n10 p1964-1970 Oct 2013
From preschool age to adulthood, most humans prefer to help someone who has treated others well over helping someone who has treated others badly. Researchers have recently made opposing predictions about whether such observation-based preferential helping is present when children begin to help in the second year of life. In the present study, 84 toddlers (16-27 months) observed 1 experimenter ("antisocial") take a ball from, and 1 experimenter ("prosocial") return a ball to, a neutral experimenter. In subsequent tests, children could help either the antisocial or the prosocial experimenter. Only the oldest children showed a significant preference for helping the prosocial agent first. Most children in all age groups were willing to help both experimenters when given multiple opportunities to help. Across age groups, children who looked longer at the continuation of the antisocial interaction were more likely to help the prosocial agent. These findings suggest that social evaluations do affect toddlers' helping behavior but that interactions between human agents may be difficult to evaluate for very young children.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: BCS 0958241