But they weren't being careful! Role of theory of mind in moral judgments about victim and transgressor negligence

Seçil Gönültaş, Cameron B. Richardson, Kelly Lynn Mulvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous research showed that children are influenced not only by intentions and outcomes but also by transgressor negligence in their moral judgments. The current study investigated the role of transgressor and victim negligence on children's moral judgments. Children's false-belief theory of mind understanding (FBU ToM) was examined as a possible factor that might shape moral judgments in contexts involving negligence. Children (N = 117, Mage = 5.41 years, range = 3–8) were presented with two stories involving property damage and physical harm where negligence was manipulated and with a series of questions assessing moral judgments regarding act acceptability of the transgressor and victim, punishment, and assessments of alternative actions. FBU ToM was measured with a false-content task. Children with higher FBU ToM were more likely to consider both transgressor and victim negligence in their moral judgments across different transgressions. The findings have implications for how social cognitive abilities interact with transgressor and victim negligence in moral decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105234
JournalJournal of experimental child psychology
Volume212
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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