Peer Influence on Prosocial Behavior in Adolescence
Adolescence is a time of increased sensitivity to peer influence, which creates vulnerabilities but also opportunities.
In this study, the researchers examined the influence of peers on prosocial behavior in 12- to 16-year-old adolescents (N = 197). The study utilized a public goods game in which participants made decisions about the allocation of coins between themselves and the group. Participants received manipulated peer feedback on a subset of decisions.
Results indicate a significant interaction between feedback condition (prosocial, antisocial, or no feedback) and allocation choices: Prosocial behavior increased after prosocial feedback and decreased after antisocial feedback.
These findings support the idea that peer influence creates not only vulnerabilities, but also opportunities for healthy prosocial development and social adjustment learning.