Early Understanding of Normativity and Freedom to Act in Turkish Toddlers

Tuncgenc B., Hohenberger A., Rakoczy H.

JOURNAL OF COGNITION AND DEVELOPMENT, vol.16, no.1, pp.44-54, 2015 (SSCI) identifier identifier


Two studies investigated young 2- and 3-year-old Turkish children's developing understanding of normativity and freedom to act in games. As expected, children, especially 3-year-olds, protested more when there was a norm violation than when there was none. Surprisingly, however, no decrease in normative protest was observed even when the actor violated the norms due to a physical constraint, and not due to unwillingness. The increase in helping responses in this case lends support to the idea that at these ages, children could not yet incorporate an actor's freedom to act in line with his will as they respond to norm transgressions. The results of the two studies are discussed in the light of two general research issues: a) the importance of cross-cultural research, and b) the interaction of the cognitive system with the emotional-empathic system in development.