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Patterns of Prosocial Reasoning in Indian Children

Psychology & Developing Societies , Volume 16 (2): 159 – Sep 1, 2004


Sage Publications
Copyright © 2004 by SAGE Publications
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Patterns of Prosocial Reasoning in Indian Children


Prosocial reasoning of 5to 13-year-old Indian children (N= 167), belonging to low/high socioeconomic strata, was investigated through individual interviews seeking responses to vignettes depicting prosocial dilemmas. Children’s prosocial reasoning was characterised primarily by concern for physical needs of others, hedonistic considerations, orientation to affectional relationship, stereotypes of a good/bad person or behaviour, and internalised norms and values orientation. With age, hedonistic and stereotypic reasoning decreased while orientation to others’ needs, mutual gain, and internalised norms/values increased. Prosocial reasoning of boys and girls did not differ significantly, though there were some SES differences. Distinctive responses reflecting some unique features of the Indian culture were also noted. The results are discussed in the context of sociocultural influences and the proximal environmental circumstances social living.
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