The authors would like to thank the children, parents, and teachers for participating in the study. Moreover, the authors are grateful to Mirjam van Leer, Judith Koops, and Lizzy Eilbracht for their help in data collection and coding.
Children's Reasoning About the Refusal to Help: The Role of Need, Costs, and Social Perspective Taking
Article first published online: 6 DEC 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Child Development © 2013 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 85, Issue 3, pages 1134–1149, May/June 2014
How to Cite
Sierksma, J., Thijs, J., Verkuyten, M. and Komter, A. (2014), Children's Reasoning About the Refusal to Help: The Role of Need, Costs, and Social Perspective Taking. Child Development, 85: 1134–1149. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12195
- Issue published online: 10 MAY 2014
- Article first published online: 6 DEC 2013
Children (n = 133, aged 8–13) were interviewed about helping situations that systematically varied in recipient's need for help and the costs for the helper. In situations where helping a peer involved low costs, children perceived a moral obligation to help that was independent of peer norms, parental authority, and reciprocity considerations. When helping a peer involved high costs this overpowered the perceived obligation to help, but only in situations involving low need and when in line with reciprocity. When both need and costs were high, younger children expressed stronger moral indignation while older children were less negative and reasoned in terms of other solutions. Furthermore, stronger moral indignation was related to more advanced social perspective taking skills when need and costs were high.