This research was funded by a grant from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues to D.W. Support for the preparation of this article for K.H.L. was provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation (0723375). We thank the children who participated in this study, Suzanna Chan for illustrations, Liat Sayfan for statistical consulting, and Marvyn Arevalo Avalos, Amber Buckelew, Evan Layher, Ashlee Mitchell, Sarahni Pecson, and Roxanne Shaffer for research assistance.
Helping the In-Group Feels Better: Children’s Judgments and Emotion Attributions in Response to Prosocial Dilemmas
Article first published online: 30 AUG 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 84, Issue 1, pages 253–268, January/February 2013
How to Cite
Weller, D. and Hansen Lagattuta, K. (2013), Helping the In-Group Feels Better: Children’s Judgments and Emotion Attributions in Response to Prosocial Dilemmas. Child Development, 84: 253–268. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01837.x
- Issue published online: 25 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 30 AUG 2012
Five- to 13-year-old European American children (N = 76) predicted characters’ decisions, emotions, and obligations in prosocial moral dilemmas. Across age, children judged that characters would feel more positive emotions helping an unfamiliar child from the racial in-group versus out-group (African American), happier ignoring the needs of a child from the racial out-group versus in-group, and greater obligation to help a child from the racial in-group versus out-group. Situations varied by whether the race of the needy child matched versus mismatched that of the focal character. With increasing age, children attributed more positive emotions to people who sacrifice their own desires to help needy others as well as became more discriminating about the situations that call for altruistic action.