The Animals in Moral Tales : Does Character Realism Influence Children’s Prosocial Response to Stories?

Russell, Samantha J and Cain, Kate (2022) The Animals in Moral Tales : Does Character Realism Influence Children’s Prosocial Response to Stories? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 219: 105392. ISSN 0022-0965

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Previous research has suggested that moral stories depicting realistic characters may better facilitate children’s prosocial behavior than those containing anthropomorphized animal characters. The current study is a conceptual replication with a different sample and an extended age range. We examined the relationships between story character realism (anthropomorphized animal or human), theme (sharing or busyness), age and prosocial behavior (i.e., resource allocation). Four versions of an illustrated story book were created: An Animal Sharing book; an Animal Busy book; a Human Sharing book; and a Human Busy book. A total of 179 children, between 3 and 7 years old listened to one of the four versions of the story. Children’s sticker donating behavior was measured prior to hearing the story and again following a story recall task. All groups donated more stickers post-story than pre-story. Younger children were more likely to increase their donation than older children and children who had made higher human internal state attributions in a previous experimental session donated more stickers post-story. In contrast to previous research, we found that a sharing-themed narrative depicting human characters was no more influential on sticker donation than the other stories.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 219, 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2022.105392
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? anthropomorphismprosocial storysharingchildrenzero-inflated modelpsychology(all) ??
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Deposited On:
28 Jan 2022 14:55
Last Modified:
09 Jul 2024 00:17