What You Want Versus What's Good for You: Paternalistic Motivation in Children's Helping Behavior

Alia Martin, Kelsey Lin, Kristina R. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children help others to complete their goals. Yet adults are sometimes motivated to help others in a “paternalistic” way, overriding a recipient's desires if they conflict with the recipient's best interests. Experiments investigated whether 5-year-olds (n = 100) consider a recipient's desire, and the consequences of fulfilling this desire, when helping. Children overrode a request for chocolate in favor of giving fruit snacks, if chocolate would make the recipient sick. Children did not override a request for chocolate in favor of carrots, even if chocolate would make the recipient sick, but they gave carrots if the recipient requested them. By age 5, children balance different motivations when helping, considering the recipient's desires, consequences of fulfilling them, and alternative forms of helping available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1739-1746
Number of pages8
JournalChild development
Volume87
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'What You Want Versus What's Good for You: Paternalistic Motivation in Children's Helping Behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this