Lehrstuhl für Entwicklungspsychologie

Links und Funktionen



Unravelling the moral self

Projekttitel Unravelling the moral self
Förderung European Research Council (ERC)
Projektleitung Prof. Dr. Markus Paulus

Dr. Carolina Pletti

Natalie Christner

Regina Sticker (bis Oktober 2021)

Dr. Maria Mammen

Lena Söldner

Noemi Skala (bis Dezember 2018)

Zusammenfassung: Das moralische Selbstkonzept beschreibt das Ausmaß, zu welchem es uns wichtig ist, eine moralische bzw. eine gute Person zu sein. Empirische Studien zeigen Zusammenhänge zwischen der Ausprägung des moralischen Selbst und der Wahrscheinlichkeit, prosozial zu handeln. Das Projekt erforscht die frühe Entwicklung und die kognitive Struktur des moralischen Selbstkonzepts.

The moral self-concept describes the extent to which being a moral or good person is important to one self. Empirical studies show correlations between the strength of the moral self-concept and the probability to act prosocially. This project investigates the early development and cognitive structure of the moral self-concept.


Christner, N. & Paulus, M. (in press). Varieties of normative expressions and their relation to sharing behavior in preschool children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

Sticker, R., Gniewosz, G., & Paulus, M. (in press). A longitudinal assessment of the stability of the three-dimensional moral self-concept during early childhood. European Journal of Developmental Psychology.

Christner, N., Pletti, C., & Paulus, M. (2022). How does the moral self-concept relate to prosocial behaviour? Investigating the role of emotions and consistency-preference. Cognition and Emotion. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2022.2067133

Pletti, C., Decety, J., & Paulus, M. (2022). Neural processing of moral content reflects moral identity in 10-year-old children. Developmental Science, e13232. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.13232

Sticker, R. M., Christner, N., Pletti, C., & Paulus, M. (2021). The moral self-concept in preschool children: Its dimensions and relation to prosocial behaviors. Cognitive Development, 58, 101033. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2021.101033

Misch, A., Kristen-Antonow, S., & Paulus, M. (2021). A question of morals? The role of moral identity in support of the youth climate movement Fridays4Future. PloS one, 16(3), e0248353. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0248353

Pletti, C., Decety, J., & Paulus, M. (2019). Moral identity relates to the neural processing of third-party moral behavior. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 14(4), 435-445. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsz016

Pfundmair, M., Paulus, M., & Wagner, E. (2021). Activism and radicalism in adolescence: an empirical test on age-related differences. Psychology, crime & law, 27(8), 815-830. https://doi.org/10.1080/1068316X.2020.1850725

Paulus M. (2020). The developmental emergence of morality: A review of current theoretical perspectives. Progress in brain research, 254, 205–223. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.pbr.2020.05.006

Paulus, M., & Essler, S. (2020). Why do preschoolers perpetuate inequalities? Theoretical perspectives on inequity preferences in the face of emerging concerns for equality. Developmental Review, 58, 100933. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2020.100933

Paulus, M. (2020). How do young children become moral agents? A developmental perspective. In J. Decety (Ed.), The social brain: A developmental perspective. MIT Press.

Christner, N., Sticker, R. M., Söldner, L., Mammen, M., & Paulus, M. (2020). Prevention for oneself or others? Psychological and social factors that explain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Health Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105320980793

Christner, N., Pletti, C., & Paulus, M. (2020). Emotion understanding and the moral self-concept as motivators of prosocial behavior in middle childhood. Cognitive Development, 55, 100893. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2020.100893

Paulus, M., Christner, N., & Wörle, M. (2020). The normative status of friendship: Do young children enforce sharing with friends and appreciate reasonable partiality? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 194, 104826. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2020.104826

Dahl, A. and Paulus, M. (2019), From Interest to Obligation: The Gradual Development of Human Altruism. Child Development Perspectives, 13(1), 10-14. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12298

Paulus, M., & Schmidt, M. F. H. (2018). The early development of the normative mind. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 165, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2017.09.011

Paulus, M. (2018). The multidimensional nature of early prosocial behavior: a motivational perspective. Current Opinion in Psychology, 20, 111-116. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.09.003

Pletti, C., Scheel, A., & Paulus, M. (2017). Intrinsic altruism or social motivation–What does pupil dilation tell us about children's helping behavior? Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 2089. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02089

Paulus, M. (2017). How to Dax? Preschool children’s prosocial behavior, but not their social norm enforcement relates to their peer status. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1779. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01779

Paulus, M. (2014). The emergence of prosocial behavior: Why do infants and toddlers help, comfort, and share? Child Development Perspectives, 8, 77-81.