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Training Charity in Children

Bryan, James H.; Midlarsky, Elizabeth
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Altruism., Behavior Modification, Elementary School Students, Primary Education


One hundred and sixty first-to fourth-grade girls were given one of 10 training programs designed to produce variations in altruistic behaviors in two distinct donation situations. Children sacrificed the obtaining of M&M candies when they had a warm relationship with the E who made explicit her pleasure at such sacrifice. Neither a warm relationship nor explicit statements of joy by the E alone were more effective than no training in eliciting such charitable behavior. Ss' subsequent anonymous donations were highly correlated with previous training programs. It was concluded that positive interpersonal relationships and explicit statements of pleasure by the socializing agent can provide the basis for the temporary internalization of the norm of self-sacrifice.

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