Helping Kids

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Welcome to our new site! We are currently working within the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast on an exciting project looking at Child Empathy and Prosocial Behaviours within a Developmental Intergroup Framework, or for short, Helping Kids – QUB!

Recent psychological evidence has suggested that factors such as, empathy and positive attitudes, may strengthen prosocial behaviours; with an ingroup norm of inclusion, children may even act prosocially toward out-group members (Nesdale et al., 2005). Exposure to conflict with an outgroup may decrease the incidence of helping that an individual shows to outgroup members (Taylor et al., 2014). In recent years, many studies in post accord societies have focused on the causes and consequences of outgroup conflict. By doing this, a new emerging threat has been neglected, increased ingroup tensions (Taylor et al., 2014; Vollhardt, 2009).  These shifting relations may make children more vulnerable to conflict within the community, which in turn may be linked to greater perspective taking and more outgroup helping.

Founded in 2015, the Helping Kids Project aims to explore developmental changes in empathy of children living in Northern Ireland, that is, their ability to understand and respond to the emotions of others, and helping behaviours toward other peers they have not met. In particular, we are interested in what factors are related to empathy and helping behaviours, such as perspective taking, intergroup attitudes, and other experiences outside of school. To read more about our work, see our Spring 2016 Newsletter and our Summer 2017 Newsletter.

Thank you for visiting our site, we are looking forward to bringing you further developments about the Helping Kids project as they happen.

The Helping Kids project has been supported by the Summer Research Scheme of the School of Psychology, Queens University Belfast.