Cognitions related to empathy in five- to eleven-year-old children.

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Studied developmental changes in the conceptualization of empathy by testing and interviewing 16 kindergartners, 16 1st graders, and 16 4th graders. All age groups expected a child to empathize with liked peers more than with disliked peers. Whereas kindergartners expected emotional reactions to be equally strong in response to both types of peers, older Ss predicted weak and qualified empathic reactions to disliked peers. Taken in conjunction with the Ss' explanations of their emotion choices, this result suggests age differences with regard to the integration of separate items of information; few kindergartners knew how to control empathic arousal purely by means of thoughts. Mentalistic strategies used by older Ss to maximize or minimize empathic arousal are discussed.


  • Hans Bengtsson
  • Lena Johnson
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Psykologi


  • Empathy, Social cognition, social development, early and middle childhood
Sidor (från-till)1001-1012
TidskriftChild Development
Utgåva nummer4
StatusPublished - 1987
Peer review utfördJa