University of Oulu

Sozinova, I.M.; Sozinov, A.A.; Laukka, S.J.; Alexandrov, Y.I. (2017) The prerequisites of prosocial behavior in human ontogeny. International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering and Education 5(1), pp. 57-64, doi: 10.5937/IJCRSEE1701057S

The prerequisites of prosocial behavior in human ontogeny

Saved in:
Author: Sozinova, Irina M.1; Sozinov, Alexey A.2,3; Laukka, Seppo J.4;
Organizations: 1Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation
2Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences
3State Academic University of the Humanities, Russian Federation
4University of Oulu, Learning Research Laboratory (LearnLab), Finland
5Department of Psychology, National Research University Higher School of Economics
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Association for the Development of Science, Engineering and Education, 2017
Publish Date: 2021-03-08


Understanding the development of moral attitudes toward unrelated individuals from different social groups may provide insights into the role of biological and cultural factors in prosocial behavior. Children (3–11 years old, N=80) were presented with moral dilemmas describing a conflict of interests between a con-specific (human) and another species (animals or aliens). Participants were asked to evaluate the behavior of a human in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, and to choose whom they would help: a human aggressor who benefits at the expense of a victim in vital need, or the victim. Results showed that the older children preferred to help non-human victims significantly more often than the younger children. The evaluation of human actions was related to the proportion of such preferences. These findings are discussed from the perspectives of kin selection theory, group selection theory and the system-evolutionary approach. The implications of the study for moral education are suggested.

see all

Series: International journal of cognitive research in science, engineering and education
ISSN: 2334-847X
ISSN-E: 2334-8496
ISSN-L: 2334-847X
Volume: 5
Issue: 1
Pages: 57 - 64
DOI: 10.5937/IJCRSEE1701057S
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
515 Psychology
Funding: The research has been supported by the Russian Science Foundation under Grant [number 14-28-00229] for Institute of Psychology Russian Academy of Sciences.
Copyright information: © 2017 IJCRSEE. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivs 4.0. The article is published with Open Access at