Date of Award:

1985

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Frank Ascione

Abstract

Model similarity and familiarity were investigated for adult and similar aged models demonstrating prosocial behavior. Third, fourth and fifth graders (75 male and 75 female) participated. Subjects were given questionnaires regarding their most and least preferred peers and their most preferred parent. The models were described as similar to the subject for some groups.

Subjects were given instructions concerning a sorting task and cash certificates they would earn.

Fifty control subjects viewed a video that contained neither prosocial nor antisocial behavior. For the remaining subjects, a 2 (sex of subject) X 2 (similar age model versus adult model) X 5 (treatment) factorial design was employed. The 5 treatment factors were: unfamiliar models described as a) similar, b) dissimilar, c) with no similarity mentioned, and familiar models who were d) preferred (either a best friend or preferred parent), and e) least preferred (either a least preferred peer or parent).

Subjects (except the control group) saw a video taped model who demonstrated a sorting task and collected 20 certificates. All models shared 10 certificates by placing them in a canister marked "for the poor children". Subjects completed the task and had an opportunity to share while alone.

Significantly more sharing occurred in the similar age than in the adult model group. Both of which imitated more than the control group.

There was no difference in the imitation of males and females overall. There was no difference between the groups that saw unfamiliar models who were described as similar and the groups that saw unfamiliar models with no similarity mentioned. Each of these produced more imitative donating than the control, the familiar preferred model, and the unfamiliar model described as dissimilar groups. The familiar least preferred model group shared more than the control group. There were significant interaction effects between sex and treatment and between sex, treatment, and age of model. Unfamiliar models with no similarity mentioned and peer models each produced more sharing than parent models. Subjects who observed an unfamiliar model described as similar donated more than those seeing an unfamiliar model described as dissimilar. An unfamiliar age-mate model produced more sharing than a familiar and preferred friend. Donations were greater when the subject observed a least preferred peer rather than a best friend. This difference was due to the female subjects' performance.

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