You and me

investigating the role of self-evaluative emotion in preschool prosociality

Josephine Ross (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)
107 Downloads (Pure)

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, spontaneous help). Results confirm that the broad capacity for self-evaluative emotion is established in 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, 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 emphasised that in order to be adaptive, self-evaluative emotion should be guilt rather than shame orientated. 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-83
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume155
Early online date2 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Fingerprint

Guilt
Shame
Emotions
Moral Development
Diagnostic Self Evaluation
Empirical Research
Ego
Psychology
Research

Keywords

  • Prosocial behavior
  • Empathetic concern
  • Self-evaluative emotion
  • Pride
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Self
  • Self-regulation
  • Moral development

Cite this

@article{d5d91f1c96c143729910038dcce758fe,
title = "You and me: investigating the role of self-evaluative emotion in preschool prosociality",
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, spontaneous help). Results confirm that the broad capacity for self-evaluative emotion is established in 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, 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 emphasised that in order to be adaptive, self-evaluative emotion should be guilt rather than shame orientated. 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.",
keywords = "Prosocial behavior, Empathetic concern, Self-evaluative emotion, Pride, Guilt, Shame, Self, Self-regulation, Moral development",
author = "Josephine Ross",
note = "{\circledC} 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.",
year = "2017",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1016/j.jecp.2016.11.001",
language = "English",
volume = "155",
pages = "67--83",
journal = "Journal of Experimental Child Psychology",
issn = "0022-0965",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - You and me

T2 - investigating the role of self-evaluative emotion in preschool prosociality

AU - Ross, Josephine

N1 - © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PY - 2017/3

Y1 - 2017/3

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, spontaneous help). Results confirm that the broad capacity for self-evaluative emotion is established in 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, 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 emphasised that in order to be adaptive, self-evaluative emotion should be guilt rather than shame orientated. 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.

AB - 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, spontaneous help). Results confirm that the broad capacity for self-evaluative emotion is established in 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, 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 emphasised that in order to be adaptive, self-evaluative emotion should be guilt rather than shame orientated. 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.

KW - Prosocial behavior

KW - Empathetic concern

KW - Self-evaluative emotion

KW - Pride

KW - Guilt

KW - Shame

KW - Self

KW - Self-regulation

KW - Moral development

U2 - 10.1016/j.jecp.2016.11.001

DO - 10.1016/j.jecp.2016.11.001

M3 - Article

VL - 155

SP - 67

EP - 83

JO - Journal of Experimental Child Psychology

JF - Journal of Experimental Child Psychology

SN - 0022-0965

ER -