Personal values and sustained attention as predictors of children's helping behavior in middle childhood

Kinneret Misgav*, Reut Shachnai, Lior Abramson, Ariel Knafo-Noam, Ella Daniel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This study tested the effect of personal values (motivation) and sustained attention (cognitive ability) on children's helping behavior. Method: Children (N = 162, age range 8–9 years, mean = 8.81, SD = 0.43) completed value ranking and go/no-go tasks, and their helping behavior was examined. Results: Children who valued self-transcendence over self-enhancement helped more than others. Surprisingly, children's lack of sustained attention was associated with more helping among those who valued self-transcendence over self-enhancement or openness-to-change over conservation values. Valuing both self-transcendence and openness-to-change was also associated with more helping. Conclusions: Children are more likely to help others if they value self-transcendence and openness to change. Notably, children's tendency to act upon these values may be facilitated (rather than obstructed by) low attention skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-788
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality
Volume91
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • helping
  • middle childhood
  • prosocial behavior
  • sustained attention
  • values

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