Emotional displays associated with preschoolers' prosocial behavior.

R. Lennon, Nancy Eisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The purpose of the study was to examine the relation between preschoolers' emotional status and their performance and receipt of prosocial behaviors. Triads of children were filmed while playing with a toy. Instances of sharing behaviors as well as benefactors' and recipients' facial expressions were coded prior and subsequent to sharing. Moreover, recipients' affect prior to defensive behaviors of potential benefactors was noted. Recipients and benefactors exhibited more than average positive affect subsequent to spontaneous prosocial behaviors, and benefactors tended to exhibit more than average positive affect prior to emitting such behaviors. Benefactors exhibited more positive emotion subsequent to the performance of spontaneously emitted than requested prosocial behaviors. Recipients displayed more positive affect subsequent to the receipt of spontaneous than requested behaviors and more anger prior to the receipt of requested actions. Displays by recipients tended to be followed by the receipt of prosocial behaviors, whereas nonpositive displays tended to be followed by the receipt of defensive reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)992-1000
Number of pages9
JournalChild development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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