Children’s Moral Emotion Attribution in the Happy Victimizer Task: The Role of Response Format

Gummerum, M. and Lopez-Perez, Belen and Ambrona, T. and Rodriguez-Cano, S. and Dellaria, G. and Smith, G. and Wilson, E. (2016) Children’s Moral Emotion Attribution in the Happy Victimizer Task: The Role of Response Format. Journal of Genetic Psychology Research and Theory on Human Development, 177 (1). pp. 1-16.

Gummerum, Lopez-Perez et al. 2015.pdf - Accepted Version

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Previous research in the happy victimizer tradition indicated that preschool and early elementary-school children attribute positive emotions to the violator of a moral norm, whereas older children attribute negative moral emotions. Cognitive and motivational processes have been suggested as underlying this developmental shift. The current research investigated whether making the happy victimizer task less cognitively demanding, by providing children with alternative response formats, would increase children’s attribution of moral emotions and moral motivation. In Study 1, 93 4- to 7-year-old British children responded to the happy victimizer questions either in a normal condition (where they spontaneously pointed with a finger), a wait condition (where they had to wait before giving their answers), or an arrow condition (where they had to point with a paper arrow). In Study 2, 40 Spanish 4-year-old children responded in the happy victimizer task either in a normal or a wait condition. In both studies, participants’ attribution of moral emotions and moral motivation was significantly higher in the conditions with alternative response formats (wait, arrow) than in the normal condition. The role of cognitive abilities for emotion attribution in the happy victimizer task is discussed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Genetic Psychology in 2016, available online:
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Belen Lopez-Perez
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2016 09:04
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2018 13:33

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