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Publications [#349357] of Margarita L. Svetlova


Journal Articles

  1. Corbit, J; Callaghan, T; Svetlova, M (2020). Toddlers' costly helping in three societies.. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 195, 104841. [doi]
    (last updated on 2021/12/08)

    Over the second and third years of life, toddlers begin to engage in helping even when it comes at a personal cost. During this same period, toddlers gain experience of ownership, which may influence their tendency to help at a cost. Whereas costly helping has been studied in Western children, who have ample access to resources, the emergence of costly helping has not been examined in societies where children's experience with ownership is varied and access to resources is scarce. The current study compared the development of toddlers' costly and non-costly helping in three societies within Canada, India, and Peru that differ in these aspects of children's early social experience. In two conditions, 16- to 36-month-olds (N = 100) helped an experimenter by giving either their own items (Costly condition) or the experimenter's items (Non-costly condition). Children's tendency to help increased with age in the Non-costly condition across all three societies. In the Costly condition, in Canada children's tendency to help increased with age, in Peru children's helping remained stable across age, and in India children's level of helping decreased with age. Thus, whereas we replicate the findings that non-costly helping appears to develop synchronously across diverse societies, costly helping may depend on children's early society-specific experiences. We discuss these findings in relation to children's early ownership experience and access to resources, factors that may account for the divergent patterns in the development of costly helping across these societies.

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