Children's Use of Trait Information in Their Intention Ascription and Moral Judgments of Others

Public Deposited
Resource Type
  • Research into young children’s moral reasoning typically employs stories that utilize characters with no background information. The current study addressed this limitation by examining 4- and 5-year-old children’s use of trait information in their ascriptions of intention and moral judgments of characters who have identical, neutral intentions who produce either a positive or negative outcome. Children in the Trait-Present conditions heard stories in which a character was described with a trait (either nice or mean) along with three behavioural examples that are consistent with the trait. In order to determine the effect of providing trait information, children in the Trait-Absent condition were presented with the same stories, but without trait information. Results showed that children incorporated trait information into their judgments of others. Specifically, children judged ‘nice’ characters more leniently than the ‘mean’ characters. Performance on the main task was also examined in relation to Theory of Mind understanding.

Thesis Degree Level
Thesis Degree Name
Thesis Degree Discipline
Rights Notes
  • Copyright © 2017 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2017


In Collection: