Previous happy victimizer (HV) studies have shown that preschool and early elementary school children attribute happy emotions to the violator of moral rules. This study examines the effects of information pertaining to the victim in HV stories on children's emotion attributions. In Study 1, 55 children (aged 5–6 and 7–8 years) participated. Participants heard three types of stories: (a) victim sadness resulting from a character's wrongdoing (normal HV story); (b) victim happiness resulting from a character's wrongdoing (non-canonical HV story); and (c) victim sadness resulting from an accident (accident story). The children were required to infer the victimizer's feelings and to justify their attributions. Children demonstrated more positive emotion attributions for non-canonical HV stories than the normal and accident versions. In Study 2, 57 children (aged 5–6 and 7–8 years) judged two types of HV tasks (a story featuring a younger child as victim and a normal HV story). Both groups demonstrated more negative emotion attributions for the young victim stories than the normal HV stories, indicating that children's judgment varied according to contexts and different information in determining emotion attributions.
- happy victimizer
- moral emotion attributions