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Tatiana Yudina1, Tatyana Kotova2
  • 1 Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, 82/1 Prospect Vernadskogo Str., Moscow, 119571, Russian Federation
  • 2 Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, 84 Vernadsky prospect., Moscow, 119571, Russia

Empathic Responding in Toddlers: The Role of Experience and Observation of Comforting Behavior

2017. Vol. 14. No. 2. P. 262–276 [issue contents]

Although human empathy has genetic background, numerous studies revealed the great power of social contributors in empathy development. Researchers found a positive correlation between number of factors in mother-child relationship, between level of socialization and the level of empathic development in toddlerhood.  This study is designed to enrich the understanding of the social factors, which assist in acquisition of complex behavioral repertoire for empathic responding. We examined whether the similarity of negative experience and familiar behavioral model of comforting facilitate empathic acts (e.g. comforting or sharing) of toddlers. We measured empathic responses to other’s frustration in children who have previously experienced a similar frustrating event (did not find a toy) vs. those who have not such experience, and in those subjects who have been exposed to an adult's model of comforting behavior vs. have been not. We also recorded participants' emotional reactions to experimental events. Results showed that the similarity of the negative emotional experience did not significantly influence on the empathic behavior of toddlers, while the familiar model of comforting act promoted more frequent empathic acts. The results were discussed in relation to the existing data on the role of similar experience in empathic behavior and on the association between parental style, social competence and prosocial development.

Citation: Yudina T., Kotova T. (2017) Empaticheskiy otklik u detey rannego vozrasta: rol' sobstvennogo negativnogo opyta i nablyudeniya uteshayushchego povedeniya [Empathic Responding in Toddlers: The Role of Experience and Observation of Comforting Behavior]. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, vol. 14, no 2, pp. 262-276 (in Russian)
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