Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

October 1991


Published in Developmental Psychology 27:3 (1991), pp. 456–461. Copyright © 1991 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. Used by permission. “This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.”


Although attributions about others’ sad emotions have been shown to be positively related to helping behavior, there have been considerable inconsistencies in the findings. This study was designed to investigate the relations of affective attributions, affective reconciliations, and cognitive perspective-taking measures to prosocial behavior. Eighty-nine preschool through second grade children were administered various social cognition indices (two affective and one cognitive); the children were then given an opportunity to help a same-sex confederate child obtain toys. Helping that required a specific form of affective attribution and reconciliation was signifi cantly related to the affective attribution and reconciliation measures when the demands required by the helping opportunity “matched” the social cognition measure demands. The findings are discussed in terms of the need to reconceptualize the relations between social cognitive skills and helping.