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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Humans help others from early childhood. Decisions about whether to help others can have major consequences for the welfare of individuals and the functioning of social groups. This chapter discusses the development of both engagement in and evaluations of helping behaviors from infancy to adulthood. A key theme of this chapter is that decisions about helping among children and adults are often guided by evaluative considerations about whether helping is good, required, or prohibited in a given situation. Whereas much of past research on helping has focused on the frequency of helping behaviors, more research is needed on the developing relations among reasoning, evaluations, and decisions about helping across contexts. The chapter concludes by discussing questions for future research on the development of orientations toward helping.

Keywords: helping, moral development, prosocial behaviors, infancy, social interactions

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