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How Could Children's Storybooks Promote Empathy? A Conceptual Framework Based on Developmental Psychology and Literary Theory

Kucirkova, N; (2019) How Could Children's Storybooks Promote Empathy? A Conceptual Framework Based on Developmental Psychology and Literary Theory. Frontiers in Psychology , 10 , Article 121. 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00121. Green open access

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Abstract

This conceptual paper proposes a framework for understanding the developmental mechanisms and literary characteristics that bind children’s storybooks with empathy. The article begins with a taxonomy of empathy composed of three key continuous dimensions: cognitive/emotional empathy, empathy for in-group and out-group members and empathy with positive and negative consequences. Insights from developmental psychology and literary theory form the basis for an interdisciplinary framework based on three premises: (1) book-reading can support empathy if it fosters in-group/out-group identification and minimizes in-group/out-group bias; (2) identification with characters who are dissimilar from the readers is the most valuable contribution of children’s storybooks to cognitive empathy; and (3) the quality of language positions children’s storybooks as an exceptional, but not exclusive, empathybuilding form of fictional narratives. Implications for future intervention and empirical work are provided.

Type: Article
Title: How Could Children's Storybooks Promote Empathy? A Conceptual Framework Based on Developmental Psychology and Literary Theory
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00121
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00121
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Social Sciences, Psychology, Multidisciplinary, Psychology, empathy, books, stories, theory of mind, perspective-taking, literary theory, developmental psychology, social cognition, PERSPECTIVE-TAKING, INTEGRATIVE FRAMEWORK, SOCIAL COGNITION, MIND, FICTION, BOOK, LANGUAGE, PICTURE, ADULTS, SIMULATION
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10068466
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