Moral respect amongst children can encourage sharing

Box of chocolates

Moral respect amongst children can encourage sharing

New research shows that children can be encouraged to share even when they don’t have sympathy for the other party if they respect their morals. This can benefit children significantly as they develop and face a more diverse range of social situations.

The research paper was presented in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. The researchers at the University of Toronto studied a group of children aged seven and 15 to assess their reactions when placed in a number of different situations. The researchers played educational games with the children wherein they were placed in a hypothetical situation.

To share or not to share

The children who took part in the study were free to decide whether or not to share their chocolate with another child in each individual situation. In each of the circumstances, the hypothetical child was the same age and gender, but the subjects were given different details about their peers. The children were asked how they felt each of the hypothetical children were in terms of being non-aggressive, fair, or socially inclusive based upon a description provided to them by the researchers.

The research found that those children who had little sympathy for the hypothetical child were more inclined to share if they respected their morals.

This ability to assess a person’s moral standing enables children to develop the tools they’ll require as they get older. They’ll eventually be faced with a range of social circumstances, and these early learning skills can help them reach the right conclusion even when they don’t have sympathy for the other person.

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