Understanding of moral emotions and social exclusion in pre-schoolers and third graders

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined whether children use information about moral emotions when judging peer exclusion. Japanese pre-schoolers and third graders (N = 110) listened to stories featuring characters who felt happy or sad after engaging in immoral behaviour or avoiding immoral behaviour (pushing a child off a swing and stealing another child’s doughnuts). In study 1, participants judged the extent to which characters who felt happiness, guilt, and pride would be socially excluded. In study 2, participants judged whether characters who felt guilt, no guilt, pride, and no pride would be socially excluded. Participants believed that characters would be socially excluded based on moral emotions. Characters who did not feel guilt or pride were excluded more frequently relative to those who did; however, children found it easier to judge exclusion based on guilt rather than pride, especially in the case of pre-schoolers. Moreover, pre-schoolers had difficulty explaining their reasoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-610
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Developmental Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sept 3
Externally publishedYes


  • Moral emotion attribution
  • guilt
  • happy victimizer
  • peer exclusion
  • pride

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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