Storybooks Promote Prosocial Behaviors in Children

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Since pre-colonial times, stories have been a part of social and cultural development. They were used by the elders to teach children useful moral behavior. Today, children are exposed to storybooks that contain either reality tales or anthropomorphized characters. This research is important because it compares the impact of real and anthropomorphized stories on the development of prosocial behavior in children. To determine the type of storybooks that more effectively improved prosocial behavior, this research was focused on children aged 4-6 years (Larsen et al., 2017). Previous research which showed that anthropomorphized stories promoted prosocial behavior formed the basis for conducting this study (Kruse et al., 2021). The hypothesis being tested here is that anthropomorphized stories are better at enhancing prosocial behavior in children. This presentation analyzes the research article and how it relates to other research data on the topic of prosocial development in children.

Method and Procedures

A total of 96 youngsters aged 4 – 6 years took part in the study. A total of 32 children were randomly given one of three storybooks: the Human condition, the Animal characteristic, and the Control condition, which included a control short story about seeds (Larsen et al., 2017). Participants were chosen from a lab-maintained database of youngsters and the Science Centre. The experimenter observed each child separately in a silent place, either at the school lab or the Science Museum. Participants were asked two queries after undertaking the post-test sharing assignment to confirm that they comprehended the story. Once all of the tasks were performed, students in the Control group were told they could select either the human-based or the animal story and were asked what they preferred (Larsen et al., 2017). The results were used to assess the impact of human or animal stories on prosocial behavior.


Preliminary analyses reveal that children’s differences in sharing behavior were unaffected by their ages in months or sex. Results did not differ based on the region in which the data were gathered (Farkas et al., 2020). After reading the sharing narrative containing human characters, youngsters in the Human story group dramatically raised their sticker donations compared to the anthropomorphized and Control groups (Larsen et al., 2017). Post-hoc analysis indicated, however, that the average difference ratings for the Animal and Control conditions were not substantially different (Larsen et al., 2017). As a result, reading a book on giving had an immediate impact on children’s sharing behavior: those who read the story with human figures became more charitable. Those who read the text featuring anthropomorphized characters and those who read the control book demonstrated no change in generosity; both categories showed a decline in sharing behavior.


The goal of this study was to see if storybooks containing prosocial human or anthropomorphic creatures will encourage actual prosocial conduct in young children. It was discovered that reading such books had an immediate impact on children’s prosocial behavior (Larsen et al., 2017). The sort of narrative characters, on the other hand, had a major impact on whether youngsters were more or less likely to act prosocially. Small children grow increasingly charitable after hearing a story with actual human characters. Children become greedier after hearing the identical narrative with anthropomorphized figures or a control story. According to the current findings, one should employ books and stories to teach children prosocial behavior (Rosmadi & Isa, 2019). They must, however, be aware of the types of narrative characters portrayed in children’s books. To guarantee that a story’s moral is translated into action by youngsters, the story should feature human rather than animal characters.

Limitations, Future Directions, and Aspects of the Study That Could Be Improved

This research proved a significant connection between stories read and social conduct. Since this is the first study of its sort, a further systematic review is needed to increase our scientific understanding of using storybooks to foster interpersonal children’s behavior successfully and ideally (Larsen et al., 2017). Future research should look into whether the book-type impact discovered here may be applied to other prosocial acts like assisting and telling the truth. Future studies should also look into whether anthropomorphism in novels has a similar effect on older individuals as it does on younger ones. It’s impossible to say how this shift in the inclination to anthropomorphize animals affects older children’s learning from anthropomorphic stories. Future research should look at whether the way of developing a generic explanatory concept is influenced by how people are depicted in the narrative or, more broadly, by how near the tale is to reality.


Benish-Weisman, M., Daniel, E., Sneddon, J., & Lee, J. (2019). The relations between values and prosocial behavior among children: The moderating role of age. Personality and Individual Differences, 141, 241-247. Web.

Farkas, C., Gerber, D., Mata, C., & Santelices, M. P. (2020). Are children from different countries exposed to diverse emotions in storybooks? Comparative study between Chile and the United States. Social Development, 29(4), 1134-1154. Web.

Kruse, E., Faller, I., & Read, K. (2021). Can Reading Personalized Storybooks to Children Increase Their Prosocial Behavior?. Early Childhood Education Journal, 49(2), 273-282. Web.

Larsen, N., Lee, K., & Ganea, P. (2017). Do storybooks with anthropomorphized animal characters promote prosocial behaviors in young children?. Developmental Science, 21(3), e12590. Web.

Rosmadi, I. M., & Isa, Z. M. (2019). Essential elements of children’s story books in Islamic pedagogy based on Al-Quran to cultivate prosocial behavior among preschool children. International Journal of Education, 4(31), 204-214. Web.

Taggart, J., Eisen, S., & Lillard, A. S. (2019). The current landscape of US children’s television: violent, prosocial, educational, and fantastical content. Journal of children and media, 13(3), 276-294. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. (2023, January 25). Storybooks Promote Prosocial Behaviors in Children. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2023, January 25). Storybooks Promote Prosocial Behaviors in Children.

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"Storybooks Promote Prosocial Behaviors in Children." PsychologyWriting, 25 Jan. 2023,


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Storybooks Promote Prosocial Behaviors in Children'. 25 January.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Storybooks Promote Prosocial Behaviors in Children." January 25, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Storybooks Promote Prosocial Behaviors in Children." January 25, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Storybooks Promote Prosocial Behaviors in Children." January 25, 2023.