Research has indicated that the majority of infants and toddlers prefer prosocial to antisocial agents, but little research has examined interindividual differences in children's preference. This study examined whether 24-month-olds' (n = 107) sociomoral preference was associated with attachment security or empathy, assessed with the Attachment Q-Sort and the Empathy Questionnaire. Toddlers were presented with a puppet play, in which a protagonist tried to open a box and was helped by a prosocial agent and hindered by an antisocial agent. Then, toddlers were asked to pick up either the prosocial or the antisocial agent (manual choice), as a measure of their sociomoral preference. Of the 107 toddlers included in this study, 60.7% chose the prosocial over the antisocial agent. Neither empathy nor parent-child attachment was associated with children's preference. Our findings indicate a slight overall preference for the prosocial agent, but with notable interindividual differences not explained by empathy or attachment.

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Social Development

Loheide-Niesmann, L. (Lisa), de Lijster, J.M, Hall, R.A.S, van Bakel, H.J.A, & Cima, M. (2020). Toddlers' preference for prosocial versus antisocial agents: No associations with empathy or attachment security. Social Development. doi:10.1111/sode.12487