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The Socialization and Development of Empathy and Prosocial Behavior
by Nancy Eisenberg, Ph. D. Arizona State University

The National Association for Humane and Environmental Education Box 362 East Haddam, CT 06423
Youth Education Division of The Humane Society of the United States

it may be he result of either empathizing with another or the desire to live up to internalized values. a prosocial behavior such as sharing may be performed for altruistic reasons. the answer is not simple. you made Jerry cry. the individual's ability or tendency to experience.. "See. Hoffman & Saltzstein 1967.2 ½ years of age. The effectiveness of inductions has been demonstrated for children as young as 1 ½. & Blechman. 1979) found that mothers who reported using inductions and who said that these inductions were administered with effective force (i.g. 1971. reactions has become popular only in the last 15 years. Some of the child-rearing techniques that include (or sometimes include) empathy-inducing procedures will now be reviewed. Despite the fact that we are far from having all the answers. 1983). This is due. 1970. What are some of the techniques that appear to be associated with prosocial behaviors (including altruistic behaviors) in children? Philosophers and psychologists alike have long asserted that empathy is an important determinant of positive behaviors. & King. Radke-Yarrow.. Dlugowski & Firestone. Indeed. This makes it difficult to determine which socialization practices are related to the development of altruistic behaviors versus nonaltruistically motivated prosocial behaviors. 981 1982. The disciplinary technique that has proved to be most useful with regard to the promotion of prosocial behavior is the use of reasoning. however. 1980. 1982). Unfortunately. According to many psychologists. 1982. threats. vicariously the emotions of others in a manner that is not inconsistent with the perceived welfare of another). In contrast. when we observe a prosocial behavior.g. There are many possible modes of discipline.e. because actions that are performed for nonaltruistic reasons may sometimes be precursors of learning to behave altruistically (Perry & Perry.. according to the bulk of the literature. Thus. including physical punishment. followed by a discussion of other techniques that can be used to enhance the development of prosocial behavior in children. Batson & Coke. Thus."). withdrawal of privileges. 1974. different positive behaviors may be performed by the same person for very different reasons. Inductions When a child has done something wrong (or has committed a sin of omission).e. 1973. . it is possible to make some reasonable recommendations based upon the available empirical research. It should be emphasized. 1978. 1979). The degree to which the findings concerning human recipients can be generalized to animal recipients is unclear. and the motives underlying a single prosocial act may vary dramatically across actors. material or social rewards) (Eisenberg. and other socializers. altruistic behaviors are voluntary and intentional actions that benefit another. we often cannot ascertain the actor's motives for his or her behavior.g. it is logical to assume that some of the same procedures that have been found to promote human-directed altruism also can be used to enhance kind treatment of animals. a tool that is underutilized by socializers. Hume. 1981. and that we are still learning about this process.. at least in some circumstances Aronfreed. Unfortunately.How does one teach children to be more empathic and altruistic toward others? This is an important question for parents. the term prosocial behavior generally is used to refer to actions that intentionally benefit another. or vice versa. to the fact that all positive behaviors are not the same. 1978). adults often. the issue of determining which child-rearing practice enhance altruistic responding is even more complex. Reasoning in the service of discipline frequently has been labeled as "inductions" (Hoffman. e. Moreover. Zahn-Waxler.. so it is unlikely that children simply generalize to animals those patterns of prosocial behavior learned with regard to humans. Staub. Hoffman. 1739/1966. thereby increasing the probability that the child will empathize with the victim or needy other. Nonetheless. that the study of the socialization of empathic and altruistic. It is my opinion that empathy-inducing techniques are a powerful tool for teaching prosocial responsiveness. Staub. Feshbach. 1970. Baumrind. Nadler. telling the child that you do not love him or her anymore). Moreover. it is important to realize that most of the existing research pertains to the socialization of prosocial behavior directed toward other human beings. When using inductions. 1982. it is not surprising that socialization techniques that seem to enhance prosocial responding often are procedures that capitalize on the child's capacity for empathy (i.. and are not motivated by he desire to obtain external rewards (e. in part. but not always. Although the research concerning inductions is not entirely consistent. and withdrawal of love (e. such a behavior may be due to nonaltruistic motives such as the desire for rewards or social approval. adults often discipline the child. point out the consequences of he child's behavior for another (e. Alternatively. Underwood & Moore.. Karylowski. teachers. 1977). Most socializers who wish to promote positive behaviors really want to enhance only one type of positive responding--altruistic behavior. Zahn-Waxler and her colleagues (Zahn-Waxler et al. regardless of motive.g. emotion) had children who exhibited relatively high levels of prosocial behavior toward others. the use of inductions by socializers frequently is associated with enhanced prosocial development among preschoolers and elementary school children (Bar-Tal. There are certainly many people who are kinder to people than to animals.

Moreover. 1078). 1981) or refer to self-oriented reasons for sharing (Burleson & Fennelly. Maternal reporting of the use of inductive techniques was associated with 7-to-8-year-olds' prosocial responding. In a recent follow-up of a longitudinal study we are conducting (Eisenberg.g. The adult approached the donation box. Midlarsky & Bryan. Indeed. and concerned model for imitation.. inductive techniques. we should give some money to others poorer than ourselves. implicitly communicate to the child that he or she is responsible for his or her behavior. are not equally effective for children of all ages. normative. Eisenberg-Berg & Geisheker. Children's sharing is enhanced by appeals that provide symbolic modeling. It's really good to donate to poor boys and girls. 1983b). 1979). or neutral preaching. 1974). Rice & Grusec. and that morality is internally rather than externally motivated. however. Dressel & Midlarsky. Examples of the laboratory studies concerning the effects of different modes of preaching are two studies conducted by Elizabeth Geisheker and myself (Eisenberg-Berg & Geisheker. researchers found that when adults' preachings to children contained merely references to prosocial norms (e. Second. In the early studies on the effects of exhortations. we asked the children's mothers how they would respond when the child was asked to help another and refused to do so. Moral Exhortations (Preachings) In an attempt to modify or influence children's behaviors socializers sometimes symbolically model prosocial behavior (say that they are going to act in a prosocial manner) or discuss the merits of helpfulness. I think that people should share with the poor children. It is likely that inductive techniques are effective for a variety of reasons (Hoffman. Inductions that refer to the needs of others may be especially effective for promoting positive behavior (Hoffman.According to one study. 1972. Perry et al. 1977. 1975). "We should share our tokens with Bobby"). They would be so happy and excited if they could buy food and toys. won a prize (money). 1970b). 1963). Staub. It was not. 1975). 1971. the use of inductions that focus attention on the harm done by the child or that encourage the child to consider the victim's feelings and to make reparation has been associated with children's considerateness and helpfulness (Hoffman. After all. & Lennon. preachings that are power assertive in content (involve threats of disapproval. Pasternack. 1970). 1970. Third. and then had an opportunity to donate to UNICEF. First.. 1978. controlled. 1970. deprivation of privileges. that is. socializers who use inductions provide children with reasoning that they can generalize to future situations. Third-and/or fourth-grade children were exposed to a videotaped adult model who played a game. 1979). Based on this research. children are unlikely to be too angry or too afraid of punishment to attend to either what the parent has said or to the consequence of their own behaviors. 1981. an optimal learning situation may be created by the use of inductive discipline. If everyone would help these children maybe they wouldn't look so sad (there was a UNICEF poster of despondent children next to the donation box). Such verbalizations frequently have been labeled preachings or exhortations. their preachings did not enhance the children's subsequent anonymous donating (Bryan. threats). which include a description of what the model intends to do (Grusec & Skubiski. by directing the child's attention to others affective states and the consequences of their behaviors for others. Yes. Sims. socializers who use inductions may encourage the child to cognitively take the role of others (put himself or herself in the other's shoes) and empathize with others. Redfield. and represent attempts to influence an individual's future behavior. inductions are associated with prosocial development only if verbalized by socializers who typically do not use power-assertive (punitive) techniques (Hoffman. Bryan & Walbek. and verbalized either an empathic. it is quite possible that inductive techniques. 1975). 1981. & Freiberg. not a disciplinary response to prior behavior. Normative: Well now. 1970a. socializers who reason with the child provide a rational. but that the effectiveness of preachings varies as a function of their content. & Mader. unlike power-assertive techniques (physical punishment. It is possible that parental inductions are more effective for younger than older school-aged children. Although much more data are needed before any firm conclusions are drawn. related to assisting at age 9-to-10. some persons concluded that children's prosocial behaviors are not influenced by what others say (Bryan. 1979. In contrast. Sharing is the right thing to do. however. More recently. researchers have found that preachings can affect children's behaviors. or include reasons for assisting that are likely to evoke an "empathic" response (Burleson & Fennelly. In addition. When inductions are used. as well as other techniques. inductive techniques seem to be more effective for children who have had a history of inductive discipline than for those with a history of power-assertive discipline (Dlugowski & Firestone. Moreover. poor children have almost nothing. Bussey. 1981) are relatively ineffective. The empathic and normative preachings were as follows: Empathic: Well now. Perry. . I think that people should share with the poor children.

In general. an amount that did not differ statistically from the amount donated by children exposed to neutral preachings. However. Rosenhan & White. 1971. 1975. Rushton & Teachman. 1970. 1978b. Moreover. for days or even months (Elliot & Pasta. . 1979. 1971b. Presbie & Coiteaux. Rosenhan.. 1970. 1981. Rushton & Littlefield 1979. Larrieu. Rushton. 1977. Grusec. Israel & Raskin. i. Harris. exposure to the empathic preachings was followed by more donating by the children (after they played the game and won money) than was exposure to the neutral preachings. Zahn-Waxler et al. when adult nurturance is part of an on-going relationship and is not entirely unconditional (which generally is the case in real life). it also is clear that modeling is not always effective in enhancing prosocial behaviors (e. 1971. do not assist if there is a material cost to doing so) (Grusec. 1975. 1975. 1970a. 1911). 1978a. Moreover. 975). 1973). Rutherford & Mussen (1968) found that preschool boys who viewed their fathers as models of generosity and compassion (in doll play) shared more than boys who perceived their fathers as less prosocial. Moreover. Weissbord. 1970). also has been assessed. Midlarsky & Bryan. Canale.. Scott. 1975. 1971. 1970. 1978. Thus. It appears that noncontingent nurturance (unconditional constant nurturance) is interpreted by children as indicating permissiveness and. 1979. Furthermore. 1972. Scott. or Rushton & Teachman. Despite the preponderance of evidence indicating that children do imitate prosocial others. 1975) week period. 978a) or even 8(Rushton. (1979) found that 1-to-2-year-olds who exhibited more prosocial reactions toward others in distress had mothers who demonstrated empathic (prosocial) parenting.e. Harris. 1975. the effects of observing a prosocial model have been found to persist over time. For example. 1975. 1973).. not Rushton & Teachman. as well as the association between parental generosity or helpfulness and children's prosocial responding... 1975) Modeling One of the various socialization techniques that appears to promote prosocial behavior but cannot be viewed as directly tapping the child's empathic proclivities is modeling.. Bryan & Walbek. Rice & Grusec. 1973. but not Rushton & Littlefield. In general. Grosse et al. 1972. the relative influence of preachings (in comparison to modeling) apparently increases over time Grosse et al. 1982. McAllister. that children do as they please after contact with noncontingent nurturant models (i. The results of nonlaboratory research involving parents and children are consistent with the findings from experimental studies. Warren. Rushton. 1978. & Baer. it appears that nurturance increased the effectiveness of a prosocial model (Yarrow et al. The influence of preaching can be relatively durable. However. consequently.. Grusec. 1971 Yarrow. Kipper & Yinon. White & Burnam. 1970) or in attempts to rescue Jews from the Nazis (London. although some researchers have found that the immediate effects of modeling (exhibiting prosocial acts) are stronger than the immediate effects of preachings. Modeling refers to providing examples of behaviors for others to imitate Much of the research on modeling has been laboratory work in which children's imitation of an unfamiliar adult's prosocial behavior or selfishness has been assessed. Saas-Kortsaak. Grusec & Skubiski.e. White. 1970. 1978b. 1978b. 1977.. Narrow et al. In the limited research concerning helping rather than donating behavior. children's imitation of known socializers.g.. In addition. albeit in a complex manner. 1970B. 1978). 1978). the adult merely discussed the game After the preachings. Rushton. 1969.(Grosse et al. Grusee & Skubiski. that is can last over a 3.. Lipscomb et al. Lipscomb. In both studies. researchers have found that participation in altruistic causes is related to individuals' reports that their parents modeled altruism during childhood. Rice & Grosse. Grosse et al. 1982. & Waxler. 1978) or who have viewed a stingy model (Dressel & Midlarsky. Yarrow. 1967. & Waxler. 1970. Rushton. & Simutis.In the neutral condition.g Eisenberg-Berg & Geisheker. children are somewhat more likely to imitate powerful and/or competent models (Eisenberg-Berg & Geisheker. Rogers-Warren. White.g. in studies of adult altruists who were involved in civil rights activities (the Freedom Riders. Midlarsky & Bryan. Elliot & Vasta. investigators have found that people (including children) who have viewed a generous model are more generous themselves than are people who have not viewed a prosocial model (e. 1978. 1973). Sims. the videotape blurred so that the children could not see whether the adult donated. Baront. nurturance by the model is related to children's imitation of prosocial behavior. Normative preachings were associated with an intermediate amount of sharing. similar effects have been found for preschoolers' and kindergarteners' imitation of models (Staub. Grusec. and have been shown to generalize to somewhat new and different situations (Elliot & Pasta 1970. 1972) and that some models are imitated more than others (e. 1979. only the empathic preachings were associated with significant increases in children's prosocial responding. 1979. 1980). Bregmah..

Weissbrod. White & Burnam. the effectiveness of prosocial programming may be enhanced by adult directed activities such as providing verbal labels for relevant activities in the programs or encouraging children to take the roles of the television protagonists (Friedrich & Stein. One reason may be that children who engage in prosocial acts come to think of themselves as "helpful" people. 1973. 1979) or an increase in positive social interactions with peers and adults Friedrich-Cofer. Directive. Friedrich & Stein. Liebert. 1975). 1975) or "Lassie" (Sprafkin et al. Rehearsal or practice in performing prosocial behaviors is another technique that seems to be useful for promoting prosocial tendencies (Barton. children may forget that their positive . 1975). e. 1977. 1974. 1980. 1979. Staub. 1978..e. 1979) and may not generalize to new settings (Paulson. the use of verbal prompts. 1979. Collins & Getz. 1979). 1975). Rosenhan & White. 1976). assigning a specific child the responsibility for others seems to enhance prosocial behavior (Maruyama. it is likely that prolonged viewing of prosocial programming could result in substantial and enduring changes in children's prosocial behavior. Paulson. Whiting and Whiting (1073. Staub. When one considers the effect of television on a range of naturally occurring positive behaviors studied outside of the laboratory.g. 1975) and have been found to influence prosocial behavior for at least a week's time (Isreal & Brown.. 1983. 1978. Similarly. prosocially in the future. 1967. Baran. direct instructions are similar to commands in that they are used to communicate what the child is expected to do.. Kipnis... brief exposure to prosocial television content has been associated with increments in prosocial behavior several days (Coates et al. Lievert. 1970). 1975) and their effectiveness with regard to enhancing prosocial development (Coates et al. 1975) or instructions to behave greedily (Dressel & Midlarsky. Rogers' Neighborhood" (Friedrick & Stein. 1975).g. 1979. prosocial programming does have an effect. 1974. 1975). may act more. Pusser. 1972). HustonStein. Weissbrod. Children who were assigned responsibility to teach others or who were induced to participate in prosocial activities subsequently displayed more prosocial behavior in some situations (e. Constraining. Direct Instructions and the Assignment of Responsibility Another technique that seems to affect the development of prosocial behavior is direct instruction. Chase & Courtwright. Israel & Brown. Moreover. but the effect is not very potent (Friedrich & Stein. Cosgrove & McIntyre. although filmed models may have less influence on prosocial responding than do live models. 1976) and even two weeks (Friedrich & Stein. 1979. other positive outcomes such as a reduction in aggression (Bankart & Anderson. White. Israel & Raskin. Staub. 1979. 1979). Nonetheless. Neale. children's prosocial behaviors have increased in frequency subsequent to brief exposures to prosocial television programs such as "Mr. 1975) found that children from cultures in which youngsters are routinely assigned responsibilities for assisting others are more prosocial than children from other cultures. especially with regard to long-term effectiveness (Israel & Raskin. 1976. 973 later. The effects of exposure to filmed models are probably considerably weaker than those from exposure to real-life models. and. Moreover. In fact. consequently. Barton & Osborne. Smith & Page. 1975. simple prompts that are not especially constraining. in cross-cultural research. Coastes. or commands by socializers to induce subsequent prosocial behaviors. Over a period of time. directive instructions (e. Isreal & Raskin. "You may give some of the pennies you win to them if you like. However. White & Burnam. but you don't have to") Brown & Israel. "What I'd like you to do is give some of the pennies you win to them each time you win five") appear to increase children's donating behaviors significantly more than do either permissive instructions (e. 1975. Given that as true. 1979. White &-Burnam. "Maybe it would be nice if you helped that girl get her marble back once or twice. Susman.. it should not be surprising that children's prosocial behaviors can be influenced by TV programming (Ahammer & Murray. 1979).g.. Fraser.g. In research in which prosocial programming has not been associated with enhanced prosocial responding. Rubinstein. 1981. 1975.. Sprafkin. why they ought to behave in specified manner. instructions. 1982. constraining instructions have been shown to influence both private and public sharing (Israel & Brown. We sometimes forget that television personalities are models for our children. 1979. Thus. 1975. perhaps. Cromer. 1975. Whereas preachings are used to provide information regarding what children ought to do and. & Paulos. There are numerous possible reasons why prosocial behavior is enhanced by procedures that require assisting others. In most studies concerning this issue. 1979. 1980). 1975). i. it appears that the superiority of constraining instructions (in comparison to permissive instructions) may decrease with age during elementary school (Israel & Raskin.. 1979) occasionally have been noted." can enhance donating for some children (Gelfand Hartmann. & Goodman. 1976. & Clewett. & Paulos. Barton & Ascione.Television as a model. Programs with prosocial themes differ considerably in their content (Coates & Pusser. 1980. Friedrich-Cofer et al. & Miller. see Stein & Friedrich. 1979. Peterson.

Gelfand. Nevertheless. In contrast.g. however. children tend to be socially responsible and positive (Baunrind. Reinforcement Many parents and teachers are aware of the fact that behaviors that are reinforced or rewarded are more likely to be repeated than are behaviors that are not rewarded. children who are repeatedly exposed to power-assertive discipline may learn that the reason for behaving positively is external (to avoid punishment). & Bear. socializer's use of power-assertive techniques of discipline (physical punishment. & Baer. Warren. social approval. & Milley. Both material (Azrin & Lindsley. & Keasey.g. Redfield.. 1973. Zahn-Waxler et al. 1980. threats of either of these) has been found to be either unrelated (Mussen. Mithoug & Burgess. Arzin & Lindsley.. Hartman. practice. 1956. set high standards. Finally. It should be emphasized. 1971). Rushton & Teachman. When power-assertive techniques are used in a measured and rational manner by parents who generally are warm and supportive. 1978). Marshall. Fisher. Smith et al. Page. Power-assertive. frequent use of punishment is likely to elicit hostility from the child. 1975. Finally. Cromer. Fischer 1963.behaviors were at first externally imposed. Grusec & Redler. 1956. 1956. Gelfand.. & Mader. Dix & Mills. 1971.. 1970. Rushton & Teachman. Moreover. Grusec & Redler. Positive reinforcement appears to increase the frequency of prosocial acts (e. Grusec. Vogler. deprivation of privileges. fines for not helping). and may hinder the effectiveness of other socialization techniques that usually promote prosocial development (Hoffman.. Significant effects have been noted both when reinforcement was the sole means of influence (e. Furthermore. Warren. 1967). 1968. 1974) to children's prosocial development. 1976) and when reinforcement has been combined with training procedures such as prompts. It should be noted. 1982.. It should be noted that prosocial responding in a specific setting (or a specific prosocial response) can be either enhanced or diminished by punishment (depending if generosity or selfishness is punished. Rogers-Warren. they may be provided with opportunities to cognitively take the role of others and to learn about others' feelings and perspectives. for prosocial behaviors. Third. or didactic instructions (e. 1979) Prosocial development may be undermined by the frequent use of power-assertive techniques for several reasons (Hoffman. that there is a difference between the occasional use of power-assertive techniques in the context of a positive parent-child relationship. unlike material punishment (e. A second reason may be that children often are reinforced in the performance of prosocial activities that are directed or required by adults (rewards could be material. 1980. sympathy). This seems to be true. it is possible that social disapproval (verbal punishment) can be used to enhance internally motivated prosocial behavior. has been associated with children's attributing their own donating to internal motives (Smith. .Harris. 1978) have been found to be effective in inducing prosocial behavior. Zahn-Waxler et al. Staub 1979). Gelfand. especially by hostile. Hartmann. 1970.g. there is.. Olejnik & McKinney. Slaby & Crowley. children are unlikely to orient to others' needs. guilt... modeling. Dlugowski & Firestone. However. Hartmann.e. When threatened with punishment. 1976. because social disapproval. Punitive socializers provide children with hostile rather than positive models for imitation. Barton & Ascione. predominant mode of discipline. 1976) and social reinforcement (e.. and may be so aroused that they are unable to attend to the consequences of their behavior or to relevant information provided by socializers. Arzin & Lindsley. 1979. e. not internal (e. 1971. it appears that the frequent use of power-assertive techniques. cold socializers. hostility that may diminish the likelihood that he or she will want to please or attend to the parent.. 1971. socializers who use predominantly power-assertive techniques neither tap the child's ability to empathize with others nor create an optimal learning environment. Paul. however. 1983. Rutherford. Cromer. at least for some children (Doland & Adelberg. children who are directed to engage in prosocial activities may learn new prosocial behaviors that they can repeat in future helping situations.. 1982.g. 1979) to external motives. social. generalizable effects. feelings of competence or empathic rewards). Rogers-Warren. & LaBenta.1980. and the use of punishment as the preferred... 1979). Punitive Techniques of Discipline In general. Smith. little evidence that punishment for selfishness has long-term. Bryan et al. children attribute helping induced by power-assertive techniques (Dix & Grusec. 1963. 1963).g. Gelfand et al. when children assist others. and usually use nonpower-assertive disciplinary techniques such as reasoning. 1970). & Merrill. Masters. 1980.g. or internal i. and may begin to view themselves as prosocial people (Perry & Perry. Warren et al. Grusec & Redler. 1976) and cooperation (Altman.1977.g. as yet. that most mothers infrequently use punishment (especially physical punishment) to induce helping and/or in response to children's failure to assist others (Grusec. at least in the short run. is negatively related to prosocial development. 1973. Morris. & Page. This learning could lead to greater prosocial responsiveness in future situations. 1983). 1979) or negatively related (Bar-Tal et al. Bryan. Smith. Indeed. & Partlow.

1975. it is likely that the degree of association is moderated by other socialization practices. the relation of socializers nurturance and support to children's prosocial behavior has been found to be somewhat stronger and clearer (e. However. 1978). 1975. the relation between socializers' warmth and children's prosocial development is not as straightforward as one might expect. Bryant & Crockenberg. 1970). not only the degree of use but also the effectiveness of reinforcement procedures in the socialization of prosocial behavior in real-life settings is unclear. Eisenberg et al. The Role of Socializers' Nurturance and Emotional Support Intuitively. 1979). inductions. including parental inductions. 1975. and never responded positively to boys' helping or sharing. 1978. Bryant and Crockenberg (1980) found that observed maternal responsiveness to their children's needs was positively related to daughter's sharing and comforting behaviors with siblings. Rushton & Owen. Rushton & Teachman. Although socializers' nurturance and support (especially when measured with observations) does seem to be somewhat positively associated with children's prosocial tendencies. Although positive reinforcement apparently enhances the frequency of prosocial behavior immediately subsequent to the reinforcement. 1968). according to one of the few relevant studies. Midlarsky & Bryan.. reinforcement was used in combination with modeling and other techniques (e.g. 972. Thus. and Dodez (1981) noted that teachers reinforced preschool girls' prosocial behaviors less than 10% of the time. 1979). In most research in which reinforced (or vicariously reinforced) prosocial behaviors generalized to new settings or have been enduring. it appears that warmth combined with a high degree of parental permissiveness does not foster prosocial behavior involving self-denial. preachings.g. In many studies concerning the relation of socializer's nurturance to prosocial development. and 48% of the time for requested prosocial behaviors. Rushton.. 1979. or praised the child approximately 35% of the time he or she acted in a prosocial manner. Baumrind (1971) found that parents who are warm but are low in control of their children and do not set high standards (permissive parents) have sons (but not daughters) who are relatively low in social responsibility.. defined reinforcement broadly (positive social interaction was considered reinforcement). etc. 1979). 973). Grusec (1982) found that socializers almost never reinforce 4. Eisenberg. whereas nurturance combined with directive child-rearing practices setting of standards. measures of parental behaviors were based on parental or child report of socializers' warmth. Yarrow et al. Rogers-Warren & Baer. 1976. trained behaviors sometimes did not generalize (Rushton & Teachman. parental nurturance was not assessed directly. Warren et al. Hoffman & Saltzstein. In brief. when reinforcement is defined more narrowly (as praise or smiling). Moreover. children seem to become more generous after exposure to a model who appears to derive internal affective satisfaction from giving (vicarious affective reinforcement). Nonetheless. Even in these studies. 1976. and that adults smiled. One researcher has reported parents "frequently" praised young children's helping behaviors (Rheingold. thanked warmly. peers seldom positively reinforce prosocial behavior: (Barton. Barton. 1975). & Madsen. Rushton & Teachman.and 8-year-olds. 1980. 978) or only one behavior generalized (Barton & Ascione. but reinforcement was not associated with new prosocial behaviors or prosocial responding in a different situation for 5. 1973. parental reports of the use of reinforcements for good behaviors were unrelated to 4-year-olds' generosity (Olejnik & McKinney. 1981). Rugherford & Mussen. at this time.1975. 1971. 1976). 1981). in many of these studies. It is not clear how frequently socializers actually reinforce children's prosocial behavior. Zahn-Waxler et al. With regard to teachers. However. who accompanies his or her prosocial acts with statements such as "I feel wonderful" (Bryan. When socializers' nurturance has been observed or controlled experimentally. it is not clear whether or not the effects of reinforcement are enduring and generalize to new situations. Reinforcing reactions from peers and teachers seem to be more highly related to preschoolers' level of sociability and to their tendency to reinforce others' prosocial behaviors than to frequency of preschoolers' own prosocial behaviors (Eisenberg et al.. Ruston. Olszewski. and moral standards (Hoffman. hugged the child. nurturant and supportive behavior has been only weakly or inconsistently associated with high levels of prosocial behavior in children (Feshbach. that is. it would seem that warm and supportive socializers would rear prosocial children. Grusec and Redler (1980) found that reinforced prosocial behaviors generalized for 10-year-olds. For example. and negatively related to disparagement and competitive reactions with siblings.and 7-year-old children's prosocial acts with material rewards. Tryon. 1981. . Barton & Ascione.. Moreover. that is. It is likely that nurturance acts as a background or contextual variable that functions to orient the child positively toward the parent and enhances the child's receptivity to parental influence. In one of the few studies in which reinforcement was not combined with other training procedures and data on generalizability and durability of reinforced behaviors were obtained. Rogers-Warren & Baer. The effectiveness of real-life socializers' positive reinforcements has seldom been studied. Cameron.) foster the development of prosocial behaviors. Children were reinforced by peers approximately 30% of the time for spontaneous prosocial behaviors. 1967.

Level of reasoning about prosocial moral conflicts has been moderately. behaviors that are believed to enhance the level of moral judgement (Kohlberg. not all prosocial behaviors are altruistic.g. there was some relation between maternal supportiveness and emphasis on the importance of autonomy and responsibility and level of reasoning (Eisenberg. child-rearing practices that enhance the level of moral judgement should also be associated with frequency of prosocial responding (as well as with the quality of the motive underlying prosocial behavior). Finally. For 5-to-6-year-olds. then. as well as needs-oriented (primitive empathic) reasoning to justify the decision to help or not help when resolving a hypothetical moral dilemma.. Baumrind. encourage the development of autonomy. At 7 to 8 years of age. guilt or positive affect relating to living up to one's principles). For boys. In high school. an important question is which child-rearing procedures are associated with higher level prosocial moral reasoning (i.. Pasternack. seems to be especially related to parental practices that are nonrestrictive and. Moreover.g. my students and I have examined the relation between prosocial moral judgement and maternal child-rearing practices. their reasoning about why one should or should not help. a finding consistent with the conclusion that empathic concerns frequently mediate prosocial behavior. 1971. Eisenberg. and 12th graders. 1969. that is. & Tryon. However. reasoning about moral conflicts in which the individual must choose between satisfying his or her own wants or needs or those of another). 1983b. nonrestrictive. Hoffman.. different individuals perform prosocial behaviors for different reasons and a single individual's prosocial behaviors may be motivated by different concerns at different times. positively related to quantity of prosocial behavior (see Eisenberg. 1979. 1982). Summary of the Socialization Literature In summary. Eisenberg-Berg. 1983b. but only for girls. for females. in press: Eisenberg. we have found that level of reasoning was related to maternal report of nonrestrictive. the way in which children think about prosocial behaviors. Lennon.. at a later age. in part. 1981). Young children use much hedonistic. Leahy. Consequently. 1983b). Cameron. Pasternack.g. At 9 to 10 years of age. and assignment of responsibility all enhance prosocial development. Inductive discipline. 1981. as was mentioned previously. of both the total configuration of socialization techniques to which a child is exposed and the affective environment in which the socialization practices take place. & Roth. 1977). needs-oriented reasoning increases in frequency from preschool to the school years. and the manner in which children's reasoning concerning prosocial acts changes with age. Eisenberg. Eisenberg et al. especially if used by nuturant socializers (e. parental practices with these characteristics allow the child to question decisions and make decisions. In elementary school. my students and I have been studying varieties of reasoning used by children to justify prosocial or selfish solutions to moral dilemmas. empathic maternal practices. the modeling of positive behaviors. Apparently. We have found that there are somewhat systematic changes in reasoning with age (e. whereas empathic.Prosocial Moral Judgment Thus far I have discussed the relation between child-rearing practices and prosocial behavior. see Eisenberg 1982). 11th. Maternal emphasis on autonomy was positively related to an emphasis on autonomy. For a number of years. 1967. Thus.. Moreover. relatively few relations between reasoning and maternal practices were evident. adolescents sometimes verbalize reasoning reflecting abstract principles (concerning altruism and justice) or internalized emotional reactions (e.. In general.Berg & Hand. although the strength of the association decreased during the elementary school years. 1979). It is interesting that low levels of maternal overprotection also have been found to be positively related to children's helping behaviors (Eisenberg et al. 1982a. self-oriented reasoning. adolescent females' reports of maternal emphasis on autonomy. supportive practices we no longer related to level of reasoning. In the last two follow-ups of a longitudinal study. The relation tends to hold primarily for more costly prosocial acts rather than for lowcost helping behaviors (Eisenberg. as well as other less advanced forms of reasoning. the effectiveness of each practice is probably a function. nonauthoritatian practices were associated with higher level moral judgement. achievement. & Lennon. in another study conducted with 9th. hedonistic reasoning decreases with age whereas children's judgments begin to reflect approval-oriented considerations and the desire to behave in stereotypically "good" ways. maternal lack of overprotection and emphasis on autonomy were positively related to level of reasoning. paternal coldness and father/daughter conflict were also positively related to prosocial reasoning. there are a variety of child-rearing procedures that apparently contribute to prosocial development.e. and competition rather than overprotection were related to higher level moral judgement. empathic preachings. and frequently mention self-reflective empathic reasons. However. it is important to note that empathic reasoning was a major type of reasoning throughout childhood. 1963. Eisenberg-Berg & Neal. . However. In brief.

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