Developing helping behavior in young children through multiple exemplar training.

Research has demonstrated that engaging in helping behavior is highly valued by children and adults and has diverse benefits for the recipient, helper, and larger group. Not surprisingly, raising children who exhibit pro-social behavior such as helping others is a central concern for parents and societies. However, the learning process that leads to the emergence of helping remains understudied. The current study examined the establishment of generalized helping behavior in young, typically developing children, in a context in which helping competed with ongoing toy play. Additionally, we examined the emergence of vocalizations about behavior that suggest the adoption of a socially conventional rule that helping is a good thing to do. Generalized helping was initially established through multiple exemplar training, with some participants also receiving rule instruction and behavioral feedback. Generalized helping emerged across all participants, and 2 of 3 participants made vocalizations demonstrating a behavioral rule that helping is good. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)