Based in the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast, we are continuing to expand and develop our international projects exploring Children’s Empathy and Prosocial Behaviours within a Developmental Intergroup Framework; or for short, Helping Kids!
Factors such as empathy and positive attitudes may strengthen prosocial behaviours (O’Driscoll, Taylor, & Dautel, 2018). For instance, with an inclusive ingroup norm, children may act positively toward out-group members (Nesdale et al., 2005). However, exposure to conflict with the outgroup may decrease the helping behaviours that an individual shows to outgroup members (Taylor et al., 2014). In post-accord societies, more recent research has begun to investigate the outgroup prosocial and helping behaviours as antecedents of peacebuilding among children and youth (Taylor & McKeown, 2017; McKeown & Taylor, 2017). Founded in 2015, the Helping Kids! project aims to explore developmental changes related to children’s prosocial behaviours in a post-accord generation, here in Northern Ireland and also around the world. We examine factors related to children’s ability to understand and identify with conflict-related groups, how they respond to the emotions of others, and their helping behaviours towards peers they have not met.