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The relation of cognitive, emotional, and motivation variables to preschoolers' sharing

Brandy A Randall, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The present study had three goals. First, the usefulness of combining socio-cognitive and information processing perspectives for understanding sharing by preschool-aged children was examined. Specifically, the influences of both perspective taking and of fraction understanding were examined. Second, this study examined three sources of influence, cognition, emotion (sympathy), and motivation (instruction set), on sharing. Third, the study examined direct and indirect effects of age on sharing. ^ The data revealed that considering the influence of both global and task-specific cognitive skills on sharing was useful, and that the strongest relations to sharing emerged when the variables were considered in combination. Fraction understanding had the most impact on equal sharing when children were low in cognitive perspective taking skills. The data also showed that examining the links of cognition, emotion, and motivation to preschooler's sharing was useful. Children who received the Share Half instructions were more likely to share and to share more equally than children receiving the Share Open Amount instructions. Children in the Share Half condition also shared more, except that there was no influence of instruction set for girls who had sympathy induced. Cognition and emotion interacted for children in the Share Open Amount condition. Cognitive perspective taking was the most influential in the absence of sympathy induction. Finally, while age had a direct effect on sharing, there were no indirect effects for age. ^ The current research supports the idea that examining the simultaneous influence of variables in different domains on prosocial behavior is useful. The variables in this study often had their effect at one level of another variable but had little effect at other levels of that variable. This could help account for prior research showing weak or inconsistent relations to prosocial behaviors. ^

Subject Area

Education, Early Childhood|Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

Randall, Brandy A, "The relation of cognitive, emotional, and motivation variables to preschoolers' sharing" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3059965.