A step in the socialization of altruism as hedonism: Effects of negative mood on children's generosity under public and private conditions

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Abstract

Prior research has indicated that although negative mood-induction procedures reliably lead to enhanced helping in adults, such procedures do not produce increased helping in young children. Consistent with the negative state relief model, it was expected that, relative to neutral mood Ss, children in a negative mood would be more generous if the helping opportunity offered the potential for direct reward through social approval. This expectation was supported in a pair of studies wherein 149 1st-3rd graders were asked to imagine either neutral or sad experiences and were then given the opportunity to be charitable either in public or in private. Exp II provided evidence that the enhanced public helping of negative mood Ss is more parsimoniously interpreted as an attempt to remove negative mood than to repair public image. A 3-step account of the development of altruism as a self-reward is proposed. (30 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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