Date of Award

Spring 2023

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. Sharon Carnahan

Committee Member

Dr. Alice Davidson

Committee Member

Dr. Juan Guevara-Pinto


The present study investigates agent-neutral application of moral norms in preschool-age children and seeks to replicate a previous study that found children as young as 3 to actively intervene in third-party moral transgressions. The relationship between verbal ability and moral intervention is also explored. In an experimental research design, 3, 4, and 5-year-olds and two puppets each created their own drawing together, after which one confederate puppet left the room. The participants were randomly assigned to either a Harm condition (in which the absent puppet’s drawing was destroyed by the remaining puppet) or a Control condition (in which an extra piece of paper in the room was destroyed by the remaining puppet). Children showed more moral interventions in the Harm condition than the Control condition. Verbal ability had no significant relationship with children’s moral interventions. Findings were consistent with past literature, thus enhancing the external validity of the empirical relationship between the very young and possession of agent-neutral moral norms.


Thesis submitted for Honors in the Major Field.

Rights Holder

Courtney Trohn