Personal values and social behavior in early childhood: Understanding the contribution of social information processing and attitudes

Einat Elizarov*, Yair Ziv, Maya Benish-Weisman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Values, defined by Schwartz (1994) as basic motivational cognitive structures, guide life goals, transcend contexts, and affect individuals’ courses of action differently depending on their preferred values. With young children, an important question that emerges is what factors underlie the linkages between their preferred motivations (i.e., preferred values) and their behavior tendencies in key social contexts. This study proposed one potential socio-cognitive mechanism that may explain how children’s values are linked to their prosocial and antisocial behaviors in kindergarten via their values-oriented social information processing patterns (SIP) and their attitudes toward their kindergarten. The sample included 121 children (59 girls; Mage = 67.45 months). Children’s values, values-oriented SIP patterns, and attitudes toward kindergarten class were examined in one-on-one interviews. Teachers reported on the children’s social behaviors. Results showed children’s preferences for self-transcendence values were linked to their more prosocial behaviors and less antisocial behaviors in class via their self-transcendence values-oriented SIP patterns and their positive attitudes toward kindergarten. The findings offer important insights into the socio-cognitive elements that drive values-behavior relationships, as well as the links between various facets of young children’s social cognition and their social behavior in kindergarten.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • Antisocial behavior
  • Attitudes
  • Kindergarten children
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Social information processing
  • Values

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