Publication Date

5-2013

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth Lemerise (Director), Carl Myers, Andrew Mienaltowski

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Specialist in Education

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that children’s social goals are influenced by
emotion and that emotions can be manipulated using relationships. The present study combines these previous findings by examining the effect of children’s relationships on social goals. Social goals were examined in second and fifth grade children using hypothetical ambiguous provocation situations in which the relationship between the participant and the provocateur was manipulated by inserting the name of a friend, enemy, or a neutral peer into the story. After each situation, children rated the importance of four different social goals, indicating which of the four would be the most important to accomplish. Results indicated that within each goal type, importance ratings varied depending on the nature of the relationship. Social relational goals were rated as much more important when the provocateur was a friend versus an enemy or neutral peer, instrumental goals, however, were rated as more important when the provocateur was an enemy or a neutral peer, and avoidant and revenge goals were rated as more important when the provocateur was an enemy. Goal hierarchy was also found to vary across relationships; social relational goals were the most important when the provocateur was a friend, yet instrumental goals became equally important when the provocateur was a neutral peer and were rated as most important when the provocateur was an enemy.

Disciplines

Child Psychology | Cognition and Perception | Developmental Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology | Social Psychology