Infants Understand Others' Needs

Autor(en): Koester, Moritz
Ohmer, Xenia
Nguyen, Thanh Dung
Kaertner, Joscha
Stichwörter: eye tracking; infant cognition; PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR; Psychology; Psychology, Multidisciplinary
Erscheinungsdatum: 2016
Herausgeber: SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC
Journal: PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE
Volumen: 27
Ausgabe: 4
Startseite: 542
Seitenende: 548
Zusammenfassung: 
Infants begin to help other individuals in the second year of life. However, it is still unclear whether early helping behavior is based on an understanding of other individuals' needs and is thus motivated prosocially. In the present eye-tracking study, 9- to 18-month-old infants (N = 71) saw a character in need of help, unable to reach its goal because of an obstacle, and a second character that was able to achieve a goal on its own. When a third individual (a helper) initiated an action, the infants expected the helper to help the character in need (as indicated during the anticipatory-looking and violation-of-expectation phases). Their prosocial understanding did not differ between age groups and was not related to their helping behavior (measured in two behavioral tasks). Thus, infants understand other individuals' needs even before they start to help others themselves. This indicates that early helping may indeed be motivated prosocially and raises the question of which other competences underlie the ontogeny of helping behavior.
ISSN: 09567976
DOI: 10.1177/0956797615627426

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