Matching Items (3)

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On Empathy Development in Young Children

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During the formative years, habits, outlooks, and attitudes develop which influence social interaction throughout life. Because empathy is crucial in social interaction, empathy development should be supported. Evidence of empathy is first observed around the age of two (Radke-Yarrow et

During the formative years, habits, outlooks, and attitudes develop which influence social interaction throughout life. Because empathy is crucial in social interaction, empathy development should be supported. Evidence of empathy is first observed around the age of two (Radke-Yarrow et al., 1983, 1984; Spinrad & Fabes, 2009). The purpose of this thesis is to examine empathy in children from multiple perspectives. The scientific literature reviews the discovery of the mirror neuron system (MNS). A study on nine- and ten-year-old children showed a correlation between MNS activity and empathic concern (Pfeifer et al. 2008). Another study with a mean age of 11 demonstrated that high emotional intelligence (EI) resulted in more nominations for "cooperation" and less for "aggression" (Petrides, Sangareau, Furnham & Frederickson, 2006). The three most common EI tests (MSCEIT, TEIQue, Bar-On) are modeled to measure empathy (Bar-On, 2006; Goleman 1998, 1995; Mayer & Caruso 1997; Petrides & Furnham 2001). Psychologists agree that low measures are linked to narcissistic and aggressive behavior. The Observational Study analyzed both evidence of empathy and a lack of empathy in interactions with three- and four-year-old children. Personal experiences were also shared on how empathy was understood and practiced. Lastly, the children's short story was written to support empathy development through fiction-reading.

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Date Created
2018-12

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Predicting empathy-related responding and prosocial behavior from dispositional sadness and effortful control

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The purpose of this study was to examine whether dispositional sadness predicted children's prosocial behavior, and whether empathy-related responding (i.e., sympathy, personal distress) mediated this relation. It was hypothesized that children who were dispositionally sad, but well-regulated (i.e., moderate to

The purpose of this study was to examine whether dispositional sadness predicted children's prosocial behavior, and whether empathy-related responding (i.e., sympathy, personal distress) mediated this relation. It was hypothesized that children who were dispositionally sad, but well-regulated (i.e., moderate to high in effortful control), would experience sympathy versus personal distress, and thus would engage in more prosocial behaviors than children who were not well-regulated. Constructs were measured across three time points, when children were 18-, 30-, and 42-months old. In addition, early effortful control (at 18 months) was investigated as a potential moderator of the relation between dispositional sadness and empathy-related responding. Separate path models were computed for sadness predicting prosocial behavior with (1) sympathy and (2) personal distress as the mediator. In path analysis, sadness was found to be a positive predictor of sympathy across time. There was not a significant mediated effect of sympathy on the relation between sadness and prosocial behavior (both reported and observed). In path models with personal distress, sadness was not a significant predictor of personal distress, and personal distress was not a significant predictor of prosocial behavior (therefore, mediation analyses were not pursued). The moderated effect of effortful control was significant for the relation between 18-month sadness and 30-month sympathy; contrary to expectation, sadness was a significant, positive predictor of sympathy only for children who had average and low levels of effortful control (children high in effortful control were high in sympathy regardless of level of sadness). There was no significant moderated effect of effortful control on the path from sadness to personal distress. Findings are discussed in terms of the role of sadness in empathy-related responding and prosocial behavior as well as the dual role of effortful control and sadness in predicting empathy-related responding.

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Date Created
2012

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The relations among mothers' personality, parenting behaviors, and children's regulation, sympathy, and prosocial behavior

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The purpose of this study was to examine whether maternal personality (i.e., Agreeableness and Conscientiousness) predicted maternal positive parenting (i.e., warmth/sensitivity and structure), and whether maternal parenting predicted children's regulation and sympathy and/or prosocial behavior. Additionally, the mediated effect of

The purpose of this study was to examine whether maternal personality (i.e., Agreeableness and Conscientiousness) predicted maternal positive parenting (i.e., warmth/sensitivity and structure), and whether maternal parenting predicted children's regulation and sympathy and/or prosocial behavior. Additionally, the mediated effect of maternal warmth/sensitivity on the relation between maternal Agreeableness and children's regulation and the mediated effect of maternal structure on the relation between maternal Agreeableness and children's observed sympathy/prosocial behavior were investigated. Maternal personality was measured when children (N = 256 at Time 1) were 18 months old; maternal parenting was assessed when children were 18, 30, and 42 months old; children's regulation and sympathy/prosocial behavior (observed and reported) were assessed when children were 30, 42, and 54 months old. Mothers reported on their personality; maternal warmth/sensitivity was observed; maternal structure was observed and mothers also reported on their use of reasoning; mothers and caregivers rated children's regulation (i.e., effortful control [EC]) and regulation was also observed; mothers and fathers rated children's prosocial behavior; sympathy and prosocial behavior were also observed. In a path analysis, Conscientiousness did not significantly predict maternal warmth/sensitivity or structure at 30 months, whereas Agreeableness marginally predicted maternal warmth/sensitivity at 30 months and significantly predicted maternal structure at 30 months. Maternal warmth/sensitivity at 18 months significantly predicted 30-month EC, and 30-month maternal warmth/sensitivity significantly predicted 42-month EC. Maternal structure at 30 months significantly predicted 42-month observed sympathy/prosocial behavior. Maternal warmth/sensitivity at 42 months significantly predicted 54-month observed sympathy/prosocial behavior and marginally predicted 54-month reported prosocial behavior. Maternal structure and EC did not significantly predict reported prosocial behavior across any time point. EC did not significantly predict observed sympathy/prosocial behavior across any time point and maternal warmth/sensitivity at 18 and 30 months did not predict observed or reported sympathy/prosocial behavior at 30 or 42 months, respectively. Maternal Agreeableness directly predicted 30-month reported prosocial behavior and additional paths suggested possible bidirectional relations between maternal warmth/sensitivity and structure. Mediation analyses were pursued for two indirect relations; however, neither mediated effect was significant. Additional results are presented, and findings (as well as lack thereof) are discussed in terms of extant literature.

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Date Created
2015