The development of an understanding of modesty

Banerjee, Robin (2000) The development of an understanding of modesty. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 18 (4). pp. 499-517. ISSN 0261-510X

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Previous research has shown that children's understanding of how others evaluate them improves during primary school. Modesty reflects a complex form of this understanding, since one must appreciate that a self-deprecating presentation of the self can lead to enhanced social evaluation. The present research examines the understanding of modesty in children aged between 6 and 10 years. In Expt 1, 179 children were asked to choose between modest and immodest responses to praise in hypothetical situations, and then to justify their choices. Children from age 8 onwards nor only showed a preference for the modest responses but also justified this preference in terms of the negative impact of immodesty on social evaluation. In Expt 2, 60 children judged modest and immodest responses, and also completed two social cognition tasks capping second-order mental-state reasoning. A teacher-assessed measure of self-monitoring was also administered. As in the first experiment, children from age 8 viewed modest responses more positively than immodest responses. Furthermore, attitudes towards modesty were associated with individual differences in self-monitoring and social cognition,such that children with greater sensitivity to the interpersonal dynamics of social situations were more likely than others to rate modest responses positively. Implications for understanding children's social behaviour are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Robin Banerjee
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:31
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2012 14:16
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