Understanding and anticipating one’s own and others’ emotions is a major developmental achievement that plays an important role in social interactions and moral behaviour (Harris, 1985). By experiencing and remembering the emotional consequences and antecedents of moral and immoral acts, children imagine how they or others might feel when faced with a similar situation (Arsenio, Gold, & Adams, 2006; Arsenio & Lover, 1995). Anticipating the negative feelings of a norm violator (e.g., guilt, regret, sadness) and the victim of a violation (e.g., sadness, anger) serves as an important motivation to act in accordance with moral norms (Hoffman, 2000; Nichols, 2002). This study intended to investigate when
and why children attribute negative emotions to the violator of a moral norm by interconnecting research on counterfactual reasoning and the happy victimizer paradigm.