Children's reasoning about the self-presentational consequences of apologies and excuses following rule violations

Banerjee, Robin, Bennett, Mark and Luke, Nikki (2010) Children's reasoning about the self-presentational consequences of apologies and excuses following rule violations. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28 (4). pp. 799-815. ISSN 0261-510X

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Abstract

The accounts given by those who have violated a rule are likely to have important self-presentational consequences, potentially reducing the negative impact of the breach on social evaluations of transgressors. However, little is known about young children's self-presentational reasoning about such accounts. In the present study, a sample of 120 4- to 9-year-olds responded to rule violation stories where the transgressor uses either an apology, an excuse, or no account. Results showed that whereas children rated both account types similarly in terms of their impact on punishment consequences, even the youngest saw apologies as leading to significantly more positive social evaluation than excuses. Correspondingly, children were more likely to identify prosocial motives for apologies than for excuses, and more likely to identify self-protective motives for excuses than for apologies. Explicit references to self-presentational motives when explaining the accounts increased significantly with age, and were more likely following social-conventional rather than moral rule violations.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Robin Banerjee
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:37
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2012 10:26
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/13597
Google Scholar:2 Citations
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