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Paulus, Markus; Licata, Maria; Kristen, Susanne; Thoermer, Claudia; Woodward, Amanda; Sodian, Beate (2015): Social understanding and self-regulation predict pre-schoolers’ sharing with friends and disliked peers. A longitudinal study. In: International Journal of Behavioral Development, Vol. 39, No. 1: pp. 53-64


This study examined longitudinal relations between early measures of prosocial action in infancy as well as cognitive and social-cognitive abilities, and the sharing behaviour of preschool children. The results reveal relations between delay-of-gratification at 24 months and inhibitory control at 30 months, and children’s sharing at 5 years. Moreover, the analyses showed specific relations between distress understanding at 24 months and preschool children’s sharing with friends, and a relation between goal encoding at 7 months and sharing with a disliked other at 5 years. Yet, there were no relations between early measures of prosociality in infancy and preschool children’s sharing. The results support the view that inhibitory control competencies and social-cognitive abilities play an important role in the early development of prosocial action.