Topoi 38 (1):173-183 (2019)

Authors
John Michael
University of Warwick
Abstract
In recent years, developmental psychologists have increasingly been interested in various forms of prosocial behavior observed in infants and young children—in particular comforting, sharing, pointing to provide information, and spontaneous instrumental helping. We briefly review several models that have been proposed to explain the psychological mechanisms underpinning these behaviors. Focusing on spontaneous instrumental helping, we home in on models based upon what Paulus :77–81, 2014) has dubbed ‘goal-alignment’, i.e. the idea that the identification of an agent’s goal leads infants to take up that goal as their own. We identify a problem with the most well-known model based upon this idea, namely the ‘goal contagion’ model. The problem arises from the way in which the model specifies the content of the goal which is identified and taken up. We then propose an alternative way of specifying the content of the goal, and use this as a starting point for articulating an alternative model based upon the idea of alignment, namely the ‘goal slippage’ model. By elucidating the difference between goal contagion and goal slippage, we contribute to the articulation of experimental criteria for assessing whether and when the mechanisms specified by these two models are at work.
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DOI 10.1007/s11245-017-9485-5
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References found in this work BETA

A Natural History of Human Morality.Michael Tomasello (ed.) - 2016 - Harvard University Press.
The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 11 (3):506-507.

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