Authors:
H. Clark BarrettFPR-UCLA Center for Culture, Brain and Development, UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture, UCLA Department of Anthropology, University of California, 341 Haines Hall, Box 951553, 90095-1553, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany

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Monika KellerMax Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany

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Masanori TakezawaTilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany

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Szymon WicharyWarsaw School of Social Psychology, Warsaw, Poland
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany

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Abstract

Previous research on children's understanding of social contracts has shown that children are able to identify violations of social contracts from an early age, that they attribute negative feelings including anger to victims of contract violations, and that attributions of negative (moral) feelings to violators increase with age. This study examines two questions that have not been systematically investigated in prior work. First, do children attribute specific types of negative emotion, guilt and anger, to violators and victims of social contracts, and do these attributions change with age? Second, do children's attributions of guilt and anger depend on the social roles of the parties in the contract, including parents and offspring, siblings, and friends? Using a bilateral social contract scenario with first and fourth graders, we found that children in both age groups were able to identify contract violations, and attributed guilt to violators and anger to victims of social contract violations. Although anger and guilt attributions increased with age, they were high across both ages, and relatively unaffected by type of role relationship. These results suggest that children understand the moral emotions associated with violations of social contracts.

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Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 
Language English
Size  
Year of
Foundation
2007 (2003)
Publication
Programme
changed title
Volumes
per Year
 
Issues
per Year
 
Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
Founder's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Publisher's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Responsible
Publisher
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 1789-2082 (Print)
ISSN 2060-5587 (Online)

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