The Developmental Relations between Perspective Taking and Prosocial Behaviors: A Meta-Analytic Examination of the Task-Specificity Hypothesis

Gustavo Carlo, George P. Knight, Meredith McGinley, Rebecca Goodvin, Scott C. Roesch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Given the multidimensional nature of both perspective taking and prosocial behaviors, the authors advance an information processing position that attending to characteristics of tasks used to assess these constructs will clarify the nature of their associations. A meta-analysis is presented to address the task specificity hypothesis such that perspective taking and prosocial behavior are more strongly related with greater similarity in the task dimensions of emotionality, target protagonist, and context specificity. Results support this hypothesis; the magnitude of relations between perspective taking and prosocial behavior was independently predicted by each dimension, and higher task similarity on two dimensions substantially increased explained variance. Age differences in links between perspective taking and prosocial behavior were also found suggesting that effects are strongest in middle-childhood and adolescence. Implications are discussed for the study of social cognitions and moral behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSelf- and Social-Regulation
Subtitle of host publicationExploring the Relations Between Social Interaction, Social Understanding, and the Development of Executive Functions
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199776962
ISBN (Print)9780195327694
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2010

Keywords

  • Empathy
  • Meta-analysis
  • Moral development
  • Perspective taking
  • Prosocial behaviors
  • Social cognitions
  • Sympathy
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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