Young children’s prosocial responses towards peers and adults in two social contexts
Ulber, J. and Tomasello, M. 2020. Young children’s prosocial responses towards peers and adults in two social contexts . Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.
|Authors||Ulber, J. and Tomasello, M.|
Young children help and share with others, but little is known about the “how” and “who” of this early prosocial behavior. In the current study we compared 2- and 3-year-old children’s (N = 203; 101 girls) prosocial behavior of sharing and helping. We asked whether the process was different: (1) if the social partner was an adult or a same-age peer, and (2) if the child was actively interacting and engaged with the partner or not. The highest prosocial responses were found in bilateral, joint tasks such as sharing the spoils after a collaborative effort or helping a partner finish a mutual activity. Prosocial responses were lower in unilateral, autonomous tasks like assisting another person in opening a locked box or distributing a windfall of resources. Children did not show an overall preference for helping or sharing with adults versus peers, except that they were more likely to support a peer than an adult in an instrumental helping task. Together these findings suggest that toddlers’ early prosocial skills and motivations are more sensitive to how they are engaged with a partner than with who that partner is, implying that children have a non-discriminatory general inclination to benefit others, especially in bilateral interactive scenarios.
|Keywords||Prosocial behavior; Helping; Sharing; Peers; Interaction; Child psychology|
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Child Psychology|
|Publication process dates|
|Accepted||02 May 2020|
|Deposited||03 Jun 2020|
|Accepted author manuscript|
Accepted author manuscript
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