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This chapter outlines key foci for future research on prosociality and its development. It seeks to identify challenges and priorities and to delineate exciting possibilities for moving the field forward. These include the need for a useful taxonomy to help map the different dimensions and forms of prosociality across development; a call to extend the construct of prosociality by incorporating the perspectives of children and individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds; the need to integrate knowledge from different levels of analysis; the notion that for a more complete understanding of prosociality in humans, both specificities and commonalities in processes of prosocial development must be addressed; and the need to understand major obstacles to prosocial development – how is it that, despite the human potential for prosociality, some individuals do not become prosocial? – and how to transcend such barriers. Addressing these issues, using rigorous and innovative work, will promote a new era of prosociality science.
This chapter provides an introduction to the topic of this handbook: prosociality and its development across the first two decades of life, as well as causes, correlates, and consequences across the lifespan. We begin by providing conceptualizations of prosociality and derive an understanding of what prosociality is, and how it is different from related constructs. We then describe core theoretical accounts on prosocial development. Selected historical attempts to understand prosociality in humans are reviewed, along with historical turning points in early theorizing on prosocial development. Last, a brief summary of select mechanisms underlying the development of prosociality is presented.
Broad constructs of positive parenting (e.g., sensitivity, warmth) have been shown to contribute to children’s prosociality across a variety of ages and cultures. However, because both prosociality and parent-child relationships are complex, multifaceted constructs, a more fine-grained analysis is needed in order to understand the different pathways by which parents can facilitate children’s prosocial development. This chapter offers such an analysis, by reviewing work on how distinct features, or domains, of parenting can promote different motivations and skills that support prosocial action. Bidirectional effects and cultural influences are also considered, and implications for research and practice are outlined.
Prosociality is a multifaceted concept referring to the many ways in which individuals care about and benefit others. Human prosociality is foundational to social harmony, happiness, and peace; it is therefore essential to understand its underpinnings, development, and cultivation. This handbook provides a state-of-the-art, in-depth account of scientific, theoretical, and practical knowledge regarding prosociality and its development. Its thirty chapters, written by international researchers in the field, elucidate key issues, including: the development of prosociality across infancy, childhood, adolescence, and beyond; the biological, cognitive, emotional, and motivational mechanisms that underlie and influence prosociality; how different socialization agents and social contexts can affect children's prosociality; and intervention approaches aimed at cultivating prosociality in children and adolescents. This knowledge can benefit researchers, students, practitioners, and policy makers seeking to nurture socially responsible, caring youth.
Complaints are often made that recommendations about how to rear children are contradictory and, therefore, not helpful. In this Element we survey the history of theory and research relevant to childrearing in an attempt to show how apparent differences can be resolved. We suggest that socialization occurs in different domains, with each domain fostering socialization in a different way. Thus there is no all-purpose principle or mechanism of socialization but, rather, different forms of relationship between child and agent that serve a different function, involve different rules for effecting behavior change, and facilitate different outcomes. Using this framework, we survey research relevant to different domains, including the roles played by parents, siblings, and peers in the socialization process. We follow this with a discussion of how culture and biology make their contribution to an understanding of domains of socialization.
Views regarding children's influence on their environment and their own development have undergone considerable changes over the years. Following Bell's (1968) seminal paper, the notion of children's influence and the view of socialization as a bidirectional process have gradually gained wide acceptance. However, empirical research implementing this theoretical advancement has lagged behind. This Special Section compiles a collection of new empirical works addressing multiple forms of influential child processes, with special attention to their consequences for children's and others’ positive functioning, risk and resilience. By addressing a wide variety of child influences, this Special Section seeks to advance integration of influential child processes into myriad future studies on development and psychopathology and to promote the translation of such work into preventive interventions.
Research on compliance has shown that people can be induced to comply with various requests by using techniques that capitalise on the human tendencies to act consistently and to reciprocate. Thus far this line of research has been applied to interactions between individuals, not to relations between institutions. We argue, however, that similar techniques are applied by courts vis-à-vis the government, the legislature and the public at large, when courts try to secure legitimacy and acceptance of their decisions. We discuss a number of known influence techniques – including ‘foot in the door’, ‘low-balling’, ‘giving a reputation to uphold’ and ‘door in the face’ – and provide examples from Israeli case law of the use of such techniques by courts. This analysis offers new insights that can further the understanding of judicial decision-making processes.
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