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ERIC Number: EJ1050198
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Young Children Help Others to Achieve Their Social Goals
Beier, Jonathan S.; Over, Harriet; Carpenter, Malinda
Developmental Psychology, v50 n3 p934-940 Mar 2014
From early in development, humans have strong prosocial tendencies. Much research has documented young children's propensity to help others achieve their unfulfilled goals toward physical objects. Yet many of our most common and important goals are social--directed toward other people. Here we demonstrate that children are also inclined, and able, to help others achieve their social goals. Three-year-old children observed an experimenter trying unsuccessfully to get the attention of another individual and then helped by directing the 2nd individual's attention back to the experimenter. A control condition ensured that children's responses were not motivated by a general desire to inform the 2nd individual about interesting events. A 2nd experiment showed that children distinguish between fulfilled and frustrated versions of this social goal and help appropriately on the basis of this distinction. Young children are therefore willing to intervene in a 3rd-party interaction to help it along. This result expands the range of situations in which young children are known to spontaneously help others into the social domain, thereby underscoring the pervasiveness of their prosocial motivations and identifying a critical area for further research.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A