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Upsetting others and provoking ridicule: Children's reasoning about the self-presentational consequences of rule violation


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Robin Banerjee, School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QH, UK (e-mail:


This study examined children's understanding of the distinctive ‘self-presentational’ impacts of moral and social-conventional rule violations. A sample of 80 children aged 7–8 and 9–10 years generated examples of interpersonal events that would upset others and events that would elicit social attention to the self. As expected, both age groups consistently identified moral violations as leading to the former, and deviations from social norms as leading to the latter. Crucially, when children were asked to identify the social-evaluative consequences of those breaches, they exhibited a significant increase with age in recognizing the self-presentational risks of social-conventional deviations.

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