The effects of toy exposure on children's prosocial and antisocial behavior

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between exposure to prosocial and antisocial toys and the subsequent effects on children's short-term prosocial and antisocial behavior. The behaviors examined were physical antisocial behavior, verbal antisocial behavior, physical prosocial behavior, and verbal prosocial behavior. The dependent measures for these behaviors were constructed based upon Turner and Goldsmith's (1976) measures for antisocial behavior, Potts, Huston, and Wright's (1986) measures for prosocial behavior, and Radke- Yarrow, Zahn-Waxler, and Chapman's (1983) description of prosocial behavior. The theoretical basis for this study lies in the social learning theories offered by Bandura (1977) and Berkowitz (1974).

Multivariate Analyses of Variance and Wilcoxon's Signed-rank tests were used to test the hypotheses. Main effects were found for toy condition and for gender. The antisocial toy condition yielded the highest rates of antisocial behavior. The prosocial toy condition yielded the highest rates of prosocial behavior. The girls' behaviors tended to be of a verbal nature, and the boy's behaviors tended to be of a physical nature.