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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the normative development of the human innate and fundamental caring motivation from infancy to adulthood. The caring motivation is encompassing and includes reactive and proactive care, care for familiar others and strangers, and in dyads and groups, and it covers a large number of provisions such as comforting, cooperating, and mentoring. Each developmental period involves increasing sophistication and the addition of new arenas (e.g., peers, romantic relations, parenting) and skills. Four distinct yet interconnected psychological paths for the expression of caring emerge: emotional empathy, cognitive empathy, morality, and meaning in life. Ubiquitous and intrinsically governed care emerges during the second year of life when the infant’s self also buds. Cultural contexts strongly control the how, where, to whom, and why individuals should help and in general contribute to limiting caring acts. Yet maturation and culture also contribute to broadening the scope of this motivation to be enacted across differences and distances.

Keywords: caring motivation, empathy, altruism, peer group, caring bond, toddler, middle childhood, adolescence, adulthood, parenting

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