Children's low affective perspective-taking ability is associated with low self-initiated pro-sociality

Emotion. 2011 Feb;11(1):194-8. doi: 10.1037/a0021240.


Children's affective perspective-taking (APT) may provide a basis for efficient social interaction. The APT abilities of 83 children from 46 same-sex sibling pairs (ages 36 to 72 months, M = 52.8; SD = 12.6) were assessed through their reactions to affectively loaded story situations, and children whose APT ability (but not general cognitive abilities) was low relative to other children of their age were designated as Low-APT children. These children were not less pro-social when specific social cues or requests for pro-social behavior were given by experimenters. However, low APT may hinder children's ability to infer the need for pro-social action from relatively subtle social cues. Although 46.9% of nonlow APT children behaved pro-socially in at least two of three opportunities they were given to perform a self-initiated pro-social behavior, none of the children who were low on APT did.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cues
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Siblings / psychology
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Perception*