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16 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

Pro-social behaviour: definition

An act that benefits others but which may appear to have no direct benefit for the person preforming it.

Meta-analysis by Mares

Positive interaction: non-aggressive interactions, expression of affection and peaceful conflict resolution

Altruism: sharing, donating, offering help and comfort

Self-control: resistance to temptation, obedience to rules, ability to work independently + persistence at a task

Social learning theory (SLT) explanation of media influence on PSB

Theory suggests that when children observe role models behaving in a pro-social way then they may retain this behaviour and imitate it.

This includes self-control, positive interactions and altruism.

Sprafkin: method

Children aged 5 and 6 watched 1 of 3 films:

Group A - film of Lassie with boy risking his life to save a puppy from a mine shaft

Group B - episode of Lassie that carried a positive message about dogs, no incident with boy helping a dog.

Group C - episode of Brady Bunch, family comedy.

Sprafkin: method 2

Took part in a button pressing game in which they can win prizes.

Wore headphones through which they could supposedly hear a kennel and asked to press a button if they could hear a puppy in distress. make a choice between the prize and the puppy.

Sprafkin: results

Children in group A chose to help the puppy more quickly and for longer periods than children in the other 2 groups.

Sprafkin: evaluation

Experiment --> ecological validity ?

Clear causal relationship

x only short term

Possibly artificial

Ostrov: method

Assessed educational TV viewing in 763 to 4 year old children by questioning their parents.

Followed them up for 2 yrs measuring pro-social behaviour by observation.

Ostrov: results

Viewing educational media designed to demonstrate PSB was associated with higher frequency of PSB.

They found that children were more liekly to imitate PSB in same sex than in opposite sex role models.

Ostrov: Evaluation


Natural setting --> ecological validity

Long term

x lack of control


Requires us to imagine how other people experience the world.

Ability to see things from other peoples perspective --> empathy

Ability to empathise becomes more sophisticated with age.

Places an importance on developmental psychology


Development of empathy is a fundamental part of children's social-emotional development, and children have numerous opportunities for such learning in media viewing.

Evidence for sensitisation

There is a lack of evidence demonstrating exposure to pro-social behaviour in the media directly leads to higher levels of empathy in children.

Evaluation of sensitisation and SLT

Although sensitisation can be seen to be a more subtle explanation, SLT appears to give a more convincing explanation of media influence on PSB. With its idea of vicarious reinforcement and emphasis in selfish motivation.


Shows that prosocial messages have more of an effect on young children than adolescents