The effects of guilt on young children's cognitive processing

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Candace Lapan Lassiter (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Janet Boseovski

Abstract: The present study examined the effects of induced guilt on 3- to 5-year-olds' cognitive performance. Participants underwent mood induction procedures and then completed cognitive tasks (i.e., Dimensional Change Card Sort, Shape School task, and Global Local Attention task). The influence of child temperament and parenting style on the levels of guilt experienced by children was also examined. Results indicated that 3-year-olds with high guilt performed better on the DCCS than children with low guilt and children in a neutral emotion group. However, there was no effect of guilt on the 4- and 5-year-olds' DCCS performance. Across age groups, there was no effect of guilt on children's Shape School or Global Local task performance. The results are interpreted with reference to mood-as-information theory and Appraisal theory. In terms of parenting, a permissive style was associated with high levels of guilt for highly fearful children, but low levels of guilt for less fearful children. These findings have implications for developmental theories of emotion and they may also inform educational practice (e.g., consideration of emotions as a context for learning).

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Cognition, Conscience, Development, Emotion, Flexibility, Guilt
Guilt in children
Emotions in children
Child development
Cognition in children

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