Social-Cognitive Contributors to Young Children’s Empathic and Prosocial behavior

Amrisha Vaish and Felix Warneken

in Empathy

Published by The MIT Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780262016612
Published online August 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780262298612 | DOI:
Social-Cognitive Contributors to Young Children’s Empathic and Prosocial behavior

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This chapter discusses motivational factors and the contributors responsible for the empathic and prosocial behavior of young children. The reasons that people engage in prosocial behaviors, including self-benefit and society’s approval, are discussed. Empathy as an underlying prosocial behavior, along with its associated process sympathy, is studied to determine whether these are the factors responsible for young children’s prosocial behavior. The chapter discusses young children’s understanding of the situational cues and responding empathically to them. Instrumental helping acts of children aimed at helping other people in attaining their goals rather than looking for self-benefit are discussed, as is the role of culture and experience in influencing young children’s prosocial behavior.

Keywords: prosocial behavior; self-benefit; empathy; situational cues; culture; experience

Chapter.  6842 words. 

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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