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You and me: Investigating the role of self-evaluative emotion in preschool prosociality.
J Exp Child Psychol. 2017 03; 155:67-83.JE

Abstract

Self-evaluative emotions depend on internalized social standards and motivate social action. However, there is a lack of empirical research documenting the impact of self-evaluative emotion on 3- and 4-year-olds' prosociality. Extant research relates children's experiences of guilt to empathetic concern and making amends. However, the relationship between guilt and both concern and making amends is potentially reductive. Empathetic concern involves similar bodily expressions to guilt, and amend making is used to distinguish guilt from shame in children. This is the first study to relate the development of both positive and negative self-evaluative emotions to empathetic concern and prosocial choice (making amends and spontaneous help). Results confirm that the broad capacity for self-evaluative emotion is established during the preschool years and relates to empathetic concern. Moreover, these social emotions can be used to predict prosocial choice. Making amends was best predicted by empathetic concern and by children's responses to achievement (pride following success and lack of shame following failure). Alongside moral pride, pride in response to achievement and resilience to shame was also the best predictor of spontaneous help. The data support the idea that young children's prosocial choices may be partially driven by the affective drive to maintain an "ideal" self. Psychologists have emphasized that in order to be adaptive, self-evaluative emotion should be guilt oriented rather than shame oriented. However, the adaptive role of pride has been neglected. We call on future research to redress the focus on negative self-evaluation in moral development and further explore the prosocial potential of pride.

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Psychology, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK. Electronic address: juross@dundee.ac.uk.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

27918978

Citation

Ross, Josephine. "You and Me: Investigating the Role of Self-evaluative Emotion in Preschool Prosociality." Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 155, 2017, pp. 67-83.
Ross J. You and me: Investigating the role of self-evaluative emotion in preschool prosociality. J Exp Child Psychol. 2017;155:67-83.
Ross, J. (2017). You and me: Investigating the role of self-evaluative emotion in preschool prosociality. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 155, 67-83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2016.11.001
Ross J. You and Me: Investigating the Role of Self-evaluative Emotion in Preschool Prosociality. J Exp Child Psychol. 2017;155:67-83. PubMed PMID: 27918978.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - You and me: Investigating the role of self-evaluative emotion in preschool prosociality. A1 - Ross,Josephine, Y1 - 2016/12/02/ PY - 2015/08/26/received PY - 2016/10/06/revised PY - 2016/11/08/accepted PY - 2016/12/6/pubmed PY - 2017/11/14/medline PY - 2016/12/6/entrez KW - Empathetic concern KW - Guilt KW - Moral development KW - Pride KW - Prosocial behavior KW - Self KW - Self-evaluative emotion KW - Self-regulation KW - Shame SP - 67 EP - 83 JF - Journal of experimental child psychology JO - J Exp Child Psychol VL - 155 N2 - Self-evaluative emotions depend on internalized social standards and motivate social action. However, there is a lack of empirical research documenting the impact of self-evaluative emotion on 3- and 4-year-olds' prosociality. Extant research relates children's experiences of guilt to empathetic concern and making amends. However, the relationship between guilt and both concern and making amends is potentially reductive. Empathetic concern involves similar bodily expressions to guilt, and amend making is used to distinguish guilt from shame in children. This is the first study to relate the development of both positive and negative self-evaluative emotions to empathetic concern and prosocial choice (making amends and spontaneous help). Results confirm that the broad capacity for self-evaluative emotion is established during the preschool years and relates to empathetic concern. Moreover, these social emotions can be used to predict prosocial choice. Making amends was best predicted by empathetic concern and by children's responses to achievement (pride following success and lack of shame following failure). Alongside moral pride, pride in response to achievement and resilience to shame was also the best predictor of spontaneous help. The data support the idea that young children's prosocial choices may be partially driven by the affective drive to maintain an "ideal" self. Psychologists have emphasized that in order to be adaptive, self-evaluative emotion should be guilt oriented rather than shame oriented. However, the adaptive role of pride has been neglected. We call on future research to redress the focus on negative self-evaluation in moral development and further explore the prosocial potential of pride. SN - 1096-0457 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/27918978/You_and_me:_Investigating_the_role_of_self_evaluative_emotion_in_preschool_prosociality_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0022-0965(16)30221-1 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -