A considerable body of research has documented the emergence of what appears to be instrumental helping behavior in early childhood. The current study tested the hypothesis that one basic psychological mechanism motivating this behavior is a preference for completing unfinished actions. To test this, a paradigm was implemented in which 2-year-olds (n = 34, 16 females/18 males, mostly White middle-class children) could continue an adult's action when the adult no longer wanted to complete the action. The results showed that children continued the adult's actions more often when the goal had been abandoned than when it had been reached (OR = 2.37). This supports the hypothesis that apparent helping behavior in 2-year-olds is motivated by a preference for completing unfinished actions.

Finish What you Started: 2-Year-Olds Motivated by a Preference for Completing Others' Unfinished Actions in Instrumental Helping Contexts / J. Michael, A. Green, B. Siposova, K. Jensen, S. Kita. - In: COGNITIVE SCIENCE. - ISSN 0364-0213. - 46:6(2022 Jun). [10.1111/cogs.13160]

Finish What you Started: 2-Year-Olds Motivated by a Preference for Completing Others' Unfinished Actions in Instrumental Helping Contexts

J. Michael;
2022-06

Abstract

A considerable body of research has documented the emergence of what appears to be instrumental helping behavior in early childhood. The current study tested the hypothesis that one basic psychological mechanism motivating this behavior is a preference for completing unfinished actions. To test this, a paradigm was implemented in which 2-year-olds (n = 34, 16 females/18 males, mostly White middle-class children) could continue an adult's action when the adult no longer wanted to complete the action. The results showed that children continued the adult's actions more often when the goal had been abandoned than when it had been reached (OR = 2.37). This supports the hypothesis that apparent helping behavior in 2-year-olds is motivated by a preference for completing unfinished actions.
Altruism; Cognitive development; Goal contagion; Helping; Motivation; Prosocial behavior; Adult; Child; Child, Preschool; Female; Humans; Male; Helping Behavior; Motivation
Settore M-PSI/01 - Psicologia Generale
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/930654
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