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  Feeling the need of others: Children's emotional ratings of need-of-help depictions

Brielmann, A., & Stolarova, M. (2014). Feeling the need of others: Children's emotional ratings of need-of-help depictions. In 24th International Conference of Applied Psychology (ICAP 2014).

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Brielmann, AA1, Author              
Stolarova, M, Author
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 Abstract: Helping behavior as a prosocial action emerges early in childhood and is of interest for psychologists in a broad range of sub disciplines as well as for society. One necessary precondition for active helping is the ability to recognize that somebody needs help. The NeoHelp stimulus set used in this study was developed to enable the assessment and quantification of need-of-help recognition abilities. Previous research with the NeoHelp stimuli has shown that children of different ages are able to recognize their content. Specific effects of age and gender on need-of-help recognition have also been observed. How children subjectively experience these stimuli and thus how they rate depictions of need-of-help and no-need-of-help situations emotionally has not been assessed before. Here we report analyses of valence and arousal ratings for the complete NeoHelp stimulus set obtained from a diverse sample of 46 children. We employed the SAM-scales because they are an established rating instrument validated for diverse populations of adults. However, their use with children still needs further investigation. Thus, there were two main goals of the presented study: 1) Validating that the SAM arousal and valence scales may be used with young children below school age, and 2) investigating children's subjective emotional experience of need-of-help depictions. Our study demonstrates that the SAM scales, if properly explained, may be used reliably with children at and above five years of age. Ratings of younger and older children covered the whole range of the 5-point scales used. There was a linear relationship between arousal and valence ratings across all pictures: the higher the arousal ratings, the lower the valence ratings. Pictures showing a child in need-of-help were rated as lower in valence and higher in arousal than the corresponding no-need-of-help-stimuli regardless of children’s age or gender. With increasing age, arousal ratings for no-need-of-help depictions decreased, but arousal ratings for need-of-help depictions remained on the same higher level across ages. We thus provide first evidence that need-of-help depictions elicit differential subjective emotional responses in children on both, valence and arousal dimensions. This emotional component of need-of-help recognition has to be considered when assessing children's need-of-help recognition abilities.

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 Dates: 2014-10
 Publication Status: Published online
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Title: 24th International Conference of Applied Psychology (ICAP 2014)
Place of Event: Paris, France
Start-/End Date: 2014-10-22 - 2014-10-24

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Title: 24th International Conference of Applied Psychology (ICAP 2014)
Source Genre: Proceedings
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