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Children's cognitive appraisal of others' distressful and positive experiences

Bengtsson, Hans LU (2003) In International Journal of Behavioral Development 27(5). p.457-466
Abstract
The study presents a theoretical model for understanding how children's cognitive processing of empathy-provoking information is linked to vicariously aroused feelings, and to prosocial and aggressive behaviour. Predictions from the model were tested in a cross-sectional sample of second-, fourth-, and sixth-graders (N = 175) and in a large sample of fourth-graders (N = 124). Two significant forms of information processing bias were identified: (a) one that enhances the awareness of potential threats towards the self or others, and (b) one that reduces the emotional significance of the stimuli subjected to processing. Children high in empathy and prosocial behaviour tended to experience moderate levels of threat and to modulate the... (More)
The study presents a theoretical model for understanding how children's cognitive processing of empathy-provoking information is linked to vicariously aroused feelings, and to prosocial and aggressive behaviour. Predictions from the model were tested in a cross-sectional sample of second-, fourth-, and sixth-graders (N = 175) and in a large sample of fourth-graders (N = 124). Two significant forms of information processing bias were identified: (a) one that enhances the awareness of potential threats towards the self or others, and (b) one that reduces the emotional significance of the stimuli subjected to processing. Children high in empathy and prosocial behaviour tended to experience moderate levels of threat and to modulate the emotional significance of empathy-provoking stimuli through cognitive restructuring. Aggressive children tended to use dismissive operations and typically experienced either very low or very high levels of threat. The oldest children differed from the youngest by using more multiple perspective taking and cognitive restructuring. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
International Journal of Behavioral Development
volume
27
issue
5
pages
457 - 466
publisher
SAGE Publications
external identifiers
  • wos:000184808600008
  • scopus:0041974585
ISSN
1464-0651
DOI
10.1080/01650250344000073
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c31a1102-8521-4784-bd45-d2b84139026f (old id 900016)
date added to LUP
2008-01-10 13:10:13
date last changed
2017-01-01 04:21:23
@article{c31a1102-8521-4784-bd45-d2b84139026f,
  abstract     = {The study presents a theoretical model for understanding how children's cognitive processing of empathy-provoking information is linked to vicariously aroused feelings, and to prosocial and aggressive behaviour. Predictions from the model were tested in a cross-sectional sample of second-, fourth-, and sixth-graders (N = 175) and in a large sample of fourth-graders (N = 124). Two significant forms of information processing bias were identified: (a) one that enhances the awareness of potential threats towards the self or others, and (b) one that reduces the emotional significance of the stimuli subjected to processing. Children high in empathy and prosocial behaviour tended to experience moderate levels of threat and to modulate the emotional significance of empathy-provoking stimuli through cognitive restructuring. Aggressive children tended to use dismissive operations and typically experienced either very low or very high levels of threat. The oldest children differed from the youngest by using more multiple perspective taking and cognitive restructuring.},
  author       = {Bengtsson, Hans},
  issn         = {1464-0651},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {457--466},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications},
  series       = {International Journal of Behavioral Development},
  title        = {Children's cognitive appraisal of others' distressful and positive experiences},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01650250344000073},
  volume       = {27},
  year         = {2003},
}