The development of prosocial behavior and cognitions in german children

Nancy Eisenberg, Klaus Boehnke, Petra Schuhler, Rainer K. Silbereisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The development of German children's moral reasoning about prosocial conflicts, and the interrelations of moral reasoning and prosocial behavior were examined. Hedonistic reasoning decreased in usage from the preschool years to fourth grade; direct reciprocity, needs-oriented, approval/ interpersonal, and reasoning involving references to others' humanness increased with age. The pattern of development was strikingly similar to that of an American sample of the same age. However, German children used more direct reciprocity and less stereotypic reasoning than did American children. As has been found for American children, sharing behavior but not helping was related to level of moral judgment. The results are discussed in relation to theory and the existing research concerning prosocial development in America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-82
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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