Article

Children Discard a Resource to Avoid Inequity

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Abstract

Elucidating how inequity aversion (a tendency to dislike and correct unequal outcomes) functions as one develops is important to understanding more complex fairness considerations in adulthood. Although previous research has demonstrated that adults and children reduce inequity, it is unclear if people are actually responding negatively to inequity or if people dislike others getting more than them (motivated by social comparison) and like to share maximal resources, especially with those who have few resources (motivated by social welfare preferences). In order to evaluate if children are truly averse to inequity, we had 3- to 8-year-old children distribute resources to 3rd parties and found that 6- to 8-year-old children would rather throw a resource in the trash than distribute unequally, suggesting that concerns with equity can trump concerns with maximal sharing. We also demonstrated that children's reactions were not based on wanting to avoid upsetting the recipients or based on a preference for visual symmetry and that children will even throw away a resource that could have gone to themselves in order to avoid inequity. These results demonstrate the existence of inequity aversion in children, provide a new method for studying inequity aversion specifically, and suggest the need for new models to explain why inequity aversion may have evolved.

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... I tested the hypothesis that children use punishment to establish equality against several other possible outcomes. Specifically, based on findings that by school-age, children from the US gravitate towards equal sharing of rewards (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Shaw & Olson, 2012), I predicted that between 7 and 8 years of age, children would become more likely to fine-tune their punishment to balance the scales between two third parties (e.g., turning 3:1 into 1:1). ...
... These results add to the existing literature that children around age 8 and older give up their own resources to avoid getting more than others, which suggested that children are averse to inequality even when it is advantageous to themselves (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Shaw & Olson, 2012). Furthermore, our findings are consistent with a recent study that children's punishment targets unequal outcomes regardless of the divider's intention behind the outcome (Bernhard, Martin, & Warneken, in press). ...
... showing an aversion to inequality advantageous to themselves (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Shaw & Olson, 2012). Further, 8-year-olds, but not 6-year-olds, punish unfair dividers not only when their ingroup members are harmed but also when outgroup members are harmed (Elenbaas, Rizzo, Cooley, & Killen, 2016;Jordan et al., 2014). ...
Thesis
In our daily life, we often experience moral outrage when we hear news about perpetrators who treated others unfairly even if we are not the victim. We also think that perpetrators should receive punishment they deserve. In fact, research shows that adults are often willing to pay a cost to intervene against such fairness norm violations even when they are an uninvolved third party. This so-called third-party punishment is striking because it cannot be easily explained by self-interested motivations. If people were rational agents who try to maximize their own payoffs, they would not pay any costs to intervene in third-party transgressions. Thus, third-party punishment has often been considered as an index of one’s sense of fairness. However, despite its theoretical importance, in the field of developmental psychology, its underlying mechanisms and developmental trajectories have been relatively understudied. This dissertation includes four sets of studies to assess following questions: (a) When do children start to engage in and reason about third-party punishment? (b) What motivates third-party punishment in children? To answer the first question, by testing a wide age range (age 5 to 9), I found that with age, children’s punishment becomes increasingly selective (Study 1 & 2). That is, over development, children are less likely to punish fair allocations, while they become more likely to punish unfair allocations. Further, from age 7, children start to think of third-party punishment as a way to reduce inequality between two other individuals (Study 4). To answer the second question, I examined the influences of children’s own experience (Study 2) and the possibility of future interactions (Study 3) on third-party punishment, respectively. I found that neither robustly influenced third-party punishment in children. Rather, children enact third-party punishment in a way that could restore equality between two other people (Study 1), suggesting that their punishment is motivated by fairness concerns. However, despite children’s use of punishment to rectify inequality, I found that children prefer third-party helpers over third-party punishers (Study 4), which questions the extent to which children endorse third-party punishment as an appropriate intervention against unfairness. Taken together, four sets of studies suggest that third-party punishment in children reflects their fairness concern. This dissertation elucidates the development and motivations of third-party punishment in children.
... Fairness is the core of morality and the developmental foundation of cooperation and sharing (LoBue et al., 2011). Children's understanding of fairness will influence their behavior in social interactions; therefore, understanding the developmental trajectory of distributive justice in childhood is important to understanding more complex considerations of fairness in adulthood (Shaw & Olson, 2012). Previous studies have shown that infants as young as 12 months can spontaneously share information with adults (Liszkowski et al., 2008), 18-month-olds are more likely to prefer fair distribution (Geraci & Surian, 2011), and children from the age of 4 onwards prefer equal outcomes (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011). ...
... Additionally, some research showed that children's sense of fairness is rooted in the development of an aversion to unequal resource distribution (Engelmann & Tomasello, 2019). Six-year-olds even threw items away to avoid unequal distribution (Shaw & Olson, 2012), while 7-8-year-olds preferred equal distribution to unequal distribution, regardless of whether they received more or less than others (Fehr et al., 2008). ...
... The present study further verified that, in a conflict between contribution and need, 6-11-year-old children choose to allocate resources according to need, and this can increase with age. In previous studies, children have demonstrated a strong aversion to inequality (Fehr et al., 2008;Shaw & Olson, 2012). However, in the present study, children actively created unequal distributions. ...
Article
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The aim of the current study was to explore whether children’s allocation would vary according to whether the recipient who had a shortage of necessities had different merit (outcome: contribution more or contribution less, effort: laziness or diligence) when distributing necessary resources. Children aged 4–11 years (N = 345) were introduced to allocated resource in a conflict situation (need vs. merit). Findings demonstrated that 6–7-year-olds, but not 4–5-year-olds, allocated more resources to recipients in need. When the recipient’s contribution conflicted with need, 6–11-year-olds were more likely to consider need rather than contribution. However, when the recipient in need contributed less because of laziness, children consider less of the recipient’s needs and turn to allocating more resources to the recipient who is diligent. These results indicated that as children age, they pay more attention to a recipient’s needs; moreover, their allocation to those in need will be influenced by the recipient’s perceived effort.
... Specifically, in this task Care would be exhibited by giving positive resources and throwing away negative resources as it would show a sensitivity to the desires of the recipient. To investigate fairness concerns, participants and their recipients each received one candy and participants had to decide whether to allocate or throw away an extra candy (adapted from Shaw and Olson, 2012). We presented two trial types designed to elicit two forms of inequity aversion; on advantageous trials participants could keep the extra resource or throw it away (a measure of advantageous inequity aversion-AI), on disadvantageous trials they could give it to the recipient or throw it away (disadvantageous inequity aversion-DI). ...
... Fairness is hypothesized to depend largely on cooperative norms (Fehr and Fischbacher, 2004) and prominent theories have argued that fairness is founded upon a concern for treating others impartially and with respect (Shaw and Olson, 2014;Engelmann and Tomasello, 2019). Thus, in line with previous work (Gonzalez et al., 2020) we predicted that fairness concerns would be applied impartially, especially amongst older children (7-9 years of age) who tend to show a strong concern for equity-based fairness (Shaw and Olson, 2012;Blake et al., 2015). ...
... a material benefit to the recipient. In the case of disadvantageous trials equal outcomes incurred a cost to the recipient, thus may be motivated by spite or envy rather than fairness (Shaw and Olson, 2012;McAuliffe et al., 2014), whereas unequal outcomes provided a material benefit to the recipient and could be motivated by generosity. Several previous studies found that children were more likely to choose equal allocations over advantageous ones when recipients were in-group members (Sparks et al., 2017;Keshvari et al., 2021). ...
Article
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One of the most remarkable features of human societies is our ability to cooperate with each other. However, the benefits of cooperation are not extended to everyone. Indeed, another hallmark of human societies is a division between us and them. Favoritism toward members of our group can result in a loss of empathy and greater tolerance of harm toward those outside our group. The current study sought to investigate how in-group bias impacts the developmental emergence of concerns for fairness and care. We investigated the impact of in-group bias on decisions related to care and fairness in children (N = 95; ages 4–9). Participants made decisions about how to allocate resources between themselves and a peer who was either an in-group or out-group member. In decisions related to care, participants were given two trial types on which they could decide whether to give or throw away a positive or negative resource. In decisions related to fairness participants and peer partners each received one candy and participants decided whether to allocate or throw away an extra candy. If the extra candy was distributed it would place either the participant or their recipient at a relative advantage, whereas if the extra candy was thrown away the distribution would be equal. We found that on fairness trials children’s tendency to allocate resources was similar toward in-group and out-group recipients. Furthermore, children’s tendency to allocate resources changed with age such that younger participants were more likely to allocate extra candies to themselves, whereas older participants were more likely to allocate extra candies to their recipient. On trials related to care we did observe evidence of in-group bias. While distribution of positive resources was greater than negative resources for both in-group and out-group recipients, participants distributed negative resources to out-group recipients more often compared to in-group recipients, a tendency that was heightened for young boys. This pattern of results suggests that fairness and care develop along distinct pathways with independent motivational supports.
... Here we focus on how children would respond to 3:1 allocations which are the critical trials that allow us to disentangle different hypotheses 1 . Based on findings that by school-age, children from the US gravitate towards equal sharing (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Shaw & Olson, 2012), we predicted that between 7 and 8 years of age, children would use their punishment to balance the scales between two third parties (e.g., turning 3:1 into 1:1). However, several alternative outcomes are plausible. ...
... (1 for the self : 0 for partner) over a fair allocation (2:2) despite receiving overall less. Similarly, other studies with US children showed that children around age 8 and older give up their own resources to avoid getting more than others, suggesting that older children are averse to inequality even when it is advantageous to themselves (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Shaw & Olson, 2012). Together, older children's focus on inequality implies that the egalitarian motive to reduce differences in payoffs could underlie children's punishment as shown in adults (Dawes et al., 2007;Fehr & Schmidt, 1999;Johnson et al., 2009). ...
Article
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Third-party punishment has been regarded as an important mechanism to promote fairness. While previous research has shown that children aged 6 and older punish unfair behaviors at a personal cost, it is unknown whether they actually intend to establish equality or whether equality is a mere byproduct of punishment. In this pre-registered study, N = 60 5-to-9-year-olds witnessed that an agent made unfair resource allocations to a peer. Children could then decide not only whether to punish but also how much to punish. We found that with age, children’s intervention is more likely to equalize outcomes between third parties (e.g., turning 3:1 into 1:1). In conclusion, the egalitarian motive to reduce differences in payoffs could underlie children’s punishment over development.
... 8,9 Entre los 4 y 8 años el deseo de justicia que intenta evitar la inequidad es tal, que prefieren sacrificar sus recursos con el fin de una división igualitaria. 10,11 La clave en los niños no es solo la preferencia por la igualdad, sino un rechazo a la inequidad. Más aún, los juicios de los niños sobre lo justo se fundamentan en el significado social del acto distributivo; es decir, aceptan distribuciones desiguales si el procedimiento les otorgó a todos las mismas oportunidades. ...
... 2021; 42 (6) se responde negativamente a las parcialidades y se incrementa la preocupación por la forma en la que se es apreciado. 10,13,14 No obstante, luego de los 8 años empiezan a mostrar un favoritismo por los miembros de su grupo. 15,16 En el ámbito cognitivo, la teoría de la mente, las funciones ejecutivas y los procesos de regulación emocional juegan un papel importante en la toma de decisiones. ...
Article
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ANTECEDENTES: Cuando las personas toman decisiones tienden a preferir miembros de su grupo y discriminan a los de otros. OBJETIVO: Investigar el desarrollo del favoritismo de grupo en niños con trastorno del neurodesarrollo, sobre todo sujetos con trastorno del espectro autista a fin de com-prender mejor la evolución, el desarrollo y la estrategia utilizada por esta población al momento de tomar decisiones. MATERIALES Y MÉTODOS: Estudio analítico, transversal, con muestras pareadas por género y nivel intelectual efectuado en sujetos en edad pediátrica, con trastornos del neurodesarrollo. Los participantes observaron dos videos. En el primero un jugador de futbol de su país cometía un gol con la mano; en el segundo, un jugador de otro país cometía la misma infracción contra el país del participante. Algunos vieron primero un video y luego el otro; otros en forma inversa. RESULTADOS: Se incluyeron 99 sujetos que se dividieron en grupo 1: menores de 9 años (n = 34) y grupo 2: mayores de 9 años (n = 65). El grupo 1 mostró sentimientos negativos en ambos videos (p = 0.13). El grupo 2 mostró un sentimiento más negativo en el video 2 (p < 0.001) que se correlacionó con la edad. No se encontró relación con el género, nivel intelectual ni con diagnósticos del grupo 1. Los sujetos con trastornos del espectro autista mayores de 9 años refirieron, igualmente, sentimientos negativos en ambos videos. El orden de los videos no influyó en los resultados. CONCLUSIÓN: El favoritismo de grupo se manifiesta en sujetos con trastornos del neu-rodesarrollo, igual que en la población típica, en mayores de 9 años. Los sujetos con trastornos del espectro autista, independientemente de su edad, tienden a cumplir las reglas sin mostrar preferencia de grupo, quizá por compromiso en teoría de la mente y funciones ejecutivas. PALABRAS CLAVES: Trastornos del neurodesarrollo; edad pediátrica; sentimientos; tras-tornos del espectro autista; teoría de la mente; funciones ejecutivas. Abstract BACKGROUND: By violating rules, people punish offenders with a different intensity if they are a member of their group or not. We study the development of this behavior in an ecological way in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
... Fairness is another moral principle that people care about and want to uphold, both on a procedural level and on an outcome level (Ajzen et al., 2000;Greenberg, 1987;Tyler, 2000). Most people value equality (equal outcomes) and to an even greater extent equity (equal outcomes to equal inputs), and both these concepts are closely linked to perceived fairness (Gordon-Hecker et al., 2017a;Shaw, 2013;Shaw & Olson, 2012). ...
... In prosocial situations, fairness-concerns can increase helping, for instance when helping improves the lives for those who are worse off, reduces inequalities, or when helping is provided to those who deserve it the most (Shaw & Olson, 2012). Fairness-concerns can also decrease helping, when helping implies that one must give unequal treatment to two equally deserving beneficiaries, or when the beneficiaries one can help are extremely privileged (Bradley et al., 2019;Fehr & Schmidt, 1999). ...
Preprint
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Charitable giving, volunteering, climate-friendly choices, and most recently changing one’s lifestyle to stop the spread of the coronavirus are all examples of prosocial behavior. Prosociality can be investigated from different perspectives including the “who-question” (which people are more likely to help), and the “when-question” (which situational factors stimulate helping?), but in this article we focus primarily on the “why-question” (which emotions and cognitions motivate helping?)Specifically, this article tries to organize and synthesize literature related to emotions, thoughts, and beliefs (i.e. psychological mechanisms) that motivate or demotivate human helping behavior. To do this, we present a new typology including four overarching interrelated categories, each encompassing multiple subcategories.(1) Emotions: (a) emotional reactions elicited by the need situation such as empathic concern/sympathy, (b) positive or negative attitudes toward the beneficiary or the requester, (c) incidental mood. (2) Moral principles: (a) personal responsibility, (b) fairness-concerns, (c) aversion towards causing harm. (3) Anticipated impact: (a) self-efficacy (e.g. “can I make a difference?”) and (b) response-efficacy (e.g., “is this cause/project efficient and worthwhile?”). (4) Anticipated personal consequences: (a) material, (b) social and (c) emotional costs and benefits that the helper expects will follow if she helps or if she does not help. Increased knowledge about the “who” (e.g. individual differences in demography or personality) and “when” (situational antecedents such as characteristic of those in need, or type of solicitation) can surely help predict and even increase prosociality, but we argue that to understand the psychology of helping we need to also consider the psychological mechanisms underlying prosocial decisions (the “why-question”).We compare our typology against related theoretical frameworks, and present the pros and cons with different methodological approaches of testing psychological mechanisms of helping, with the aim to help researchers and practitioners better organize and understand the many psychological factors that influence prosocial decisions.
... Several pieces of evidence show that this impartiality hypothesis is plausible. For example, around age 8, children from the US give up their own resources to avoid getting more than others, showing an aversion to inequality advantageous to themselves (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Shaw & Olson, 2012). Further, with age, US children rectify inequality or punish selfishness not only when their ingroup members are disadvantaged but also when outgroup members are disadvantaged (Elenbaas et al., 2016;Jordan et al., 2014). ...
... Our findings contribute to the existing literature by showing that children employ fairness in an increasingly principled fashion over development (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Elenbaas et al., 2016;Jordan et al., 2014;Shaw & Olson, 2012). From around age 6, children were willing to pay a personal cost to enforce the fairness norms on another individual even when they were an unaffected third-party. ...
Preprint
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Third-party punishment is an important mechanism to enforce norm-following. However, the underlying process that explains the development of third-party punishment is understood poorly. Here we examine to what extent age-effects and contemporaneous experiences of receiving unfair offers influence third-party punishment. In two studies, a total of N = 280 5- to 9-year-olds participated in a computer-based task in which they received either fair or unfair offers from another peer. In the subsequent test phase, children could punish unfair offers as an unaffected third-party. We found that with age, children become increasingly systematic in their decisions to punish unfair allocations. However, there was no strong evidence that an immediate experience of (un)fairness influenced children’s punishment. Together, our results suggest that children develop a sophisticated application of fairness norms with age that is not easily swayed by their immediate experience of being treated unfairly.
... In windfall settings, 4-year-old children often reject distributions that place them at a disadvantage relative to a peer, but only 8-year-old children sometimes reject allocations that favor themselves (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011). When children are asked to distribute resources among third parties, they show a strong tendency to distribute rewards equally by 3.5 years of age (Kenward & Dahl, 2011;Olson & Spelke, 2008), and at 6 years children even prefer discarding an additional resource over creating an unequal split (Shaw & Olson, 2012). ...
... The methodological aspect is that nearly all the findings are based on investigations of so-called WEIRD children-that is, children who were socialized in Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic cultural settings (Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010;Nielsen, Haun, Kärtner, & Legare, 2017). The few exceptions to this general pattern suggest that fairness represents a dimension of human behavior that shows significant cross-cultural variation (Blake et al., 2015;Corbit, McAuliffe, Callaghan, Blake, & Warneken, 2017;Huppert et al., 2019;Kajanus, McAuliffe, Warneken, & Blake, 2019;Rochat et al., 2009;Schäfer, Haun, & Tomasello, 2015;Shaw & Olson, 2012;Zeidler, Herrmann, Haun, & Tomasello, 2016). For example, the work of Blake et al. (2015) revealed that whereas disadvantageous inequity aversion shows uniform emergence during middle childhood across seven diverse societies, advantageous inequity aversion emerges later in development and only in a subset of societies. ...
Article
Recent work has suggested that principles of fairness that seem like natural laws to the Western mind, such as sharing more of the spoils with those who contributed more, can in fact vary significantly across populations. To build a better understanding of the developmental roots of population differences with respect to fairness, we investigated whether 7-year-old children (N = 432) from three cultural backgrounds—Kenya, China, and Germany—consider friendship and merit in their distribution of resources and how they resolve conflicts between the two. We found that friendship had considerable and consistent influence as a cross-culturally recurrent motivation: children in all three cultures preferentially shared with a friend rather than with a neutral familiar peer. On the other hand, the role of merit in distribution seemed to differ cross-culturally: children in China and Germany, but not in Kenya, selectively distributed resources to individuals who worked more. When we pitted friendship against merit, there was an approximately even split in all three cultures between children who favored the undeserving friend and children who shared with the hard-working neutral individual. These results demonstrate commonalities and variability in fairness perceptions across distinct cultures and speak to the importance of cross-cultural research in understanding the development of the human mind.
... Children were found to prefer an equal distribution of resources in the non-costly resource allocation task. This is in line with previous research on children's preference for fair distributions: children typically prefer fair distributions (e.g., Fehr et al., 2008;Shaw & Olson, 2012;Sloane et al., 2012). While this is often interpreted as evidence for the developmental roots of human altruism and egalitarianism, the fact that children apparently also distribute resources evenly when a non-sentient object is involved matches previous research that suggests that children's fairness preference rather stems from social or moral norms (e.g., Blake, 2018;Kenward & Dahl, 2011;Olson & Spelke, 2008;Rakoczy et al., 2016). ...
Article
Sharing helps children form and maintain relationships with other children. Yet, children born today interact not only with other children, but increasingly with robots as well. Little is known on whether and how children treat robots as recipients of prosocial acts. We thus investigated children’s sharing behavior towards robots. Specifically, we assessed the effect of anthropomorphic appearance and affective state attributions. Children (4–9 years old; n = 120) were introduced to robots that varied in the extent to which they looked human-like. Children’s perceptions of the robots’ affective states were manipulated by explicitly demonstrating one robot as having feelings and the other one not. Subsequently, children’s sharing behavior towards and feelings about sharing with these robots were measured. Results indicate that there was no effect of anthropomorphic appearance on sharing behavior. However, importantly, children in both age groups shared more resources with a robot that they attributed with affective states, and expressed more positive emotional judgments about sharing with that robot as well. An exploratory mediation analysis further revealed that children’s positive feelings about sharing guided their actual sharing behavior with robots. In sum, children show more pro-social behavior when they believe a robot can feel.
... A strong commitment to equality is in line with studies that show infants and preschoolers expect third parties to distribute resources equally (Geraci & Surian, 2011;Rakoczy et al., 2016;Schmidt & Sommerville, 2011;Sloane et al., 2012); that children as young as 3 years also share equally themselves, when there are no costs involved (e.g., Fehr et CHILDREN'S COMPETENCE-BASED HELPING 29 al., 2008;Moore, 2009;Olson & Spelke, 2008;Shaw & Olson, 2012); and that when children get older they share equally even when this involves sacrificing their own resources (Blake, 2018). Moreover, Kenward and Dahl (2011) provide a particularly striking example of how equality concerns can trump other concerns in young children. ...
Article
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When and how other people’s needs influence children’s helping is poorly understood. Here we focused on whether children use information about other people’s competence in their helping. In Study 1 (N = 128 4- to 8-year-old children), children could provide help to both an incompetent target and a competent target by pushing levers. Whereas older children helped incompetent targets more than competent targets, younger children (<5 years) helped both targets equally. Two further experiments (N = 20 and N = 28) revealed that 4-year-olds understood that the incompetent person needed more help and also understood how they could help. Thus, young children do not, like older children, give more help to those who need it the most. We discuss potential developmental changes toward competence-based helping.
... Bicchieri (2010); Yang et al. (2016)). This trait is pervasive in a wide range of countries (Kiatpongsan & Norton, 2014) and prevalent even among six-year-old children (Shaw & Olson, 2012). ...
Article
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In this study, we aim at clarifying the role of economic inequality on the subjective well-being of individuals. For this purpose, we use more than 180,000 individuals from 51 countries in the most recent five waves (1990-2014) of the World Values Survey. We observe a significant tradeoff between life satisfaction, happiness and the Gini coefficient. Also, inequality is negatively associated with life satisfaction and happiness for lower-income groups as well as higher-income groups. Interestingly, our data also shows large scale embracement of inequality in self-reported attitudes as even almost half (49%) of the lower-income group support the statement that some inequality is necessary for sustaining individual effort. Perceived freedom, and perceived social mobility partially mediates the relationship between the Gini coefficient and subjective wellbeing indicators. Yet, there remains a substantial negative effect of inequality on subjective well-being. Nevertheless, when individuals' perception of fairness is included, the effect of inequality disappears for both higher-income and lower-income groups. Overall, our findings suggest that people are bothered by inequality primarily due to fairness concerns. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11205-021-02711-w.
... Engelmann and Strobel (2004) suggested that efficiency concerns was important in simple distribution experiments and the results turned out that efficiency had a major impact. Meanwhile, it had been shown that people were even willing to discard a resource over unequally allocating it (Shaw and Olson, 2012), because of the aversion of appearing partiality (Choshen-Hillel et al., 2015) or inequity responsibility aversion (Gordon-Hecker et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Although previous studies have demonstrated that identity had effect on justice norms and behavioral decisions, the neural mechanism of that effect remains unclear. In this study, the subjects made their distributive decisions on the trade-off between equity and efficiency among Chinese and foreign children and their scalp potentials were recorded. Behavioral results showed that efficiency consideration played an important part in the distribution task. Meanwhile, participants gave preferential treatment to same-race children. Relative to the distribution within ingroup children, the distribution involving outgroup children induced higher N170 amplitude. The distribution involving outgroup children also elicited weakened P300 amplitude and enhanced delta response than the distribution within ingroup children when subjects are facing the conflict between equality and efficiency. In other words, ingroup bias affected the neural process of the trade-off between equality and efficiency. The combination of time-domain and time-frequency analyses provided spatiotemporal and spectral results for a better understanding of racial ingroup favoritism on distributive justice.
... Furthermore, participants are forced to allocate treats on an unequal basis, which might be limiting their choices and make it difficult to interpret their decisions. Normally, inequality aversion is assessed by making children share out resources which are equal-sized portions to see whether they distribute them according to the criteria of fairness or equality (Fehr et al., 2008;Shaw and Olson, 2011). In our study, one might think that non-envious allocations are the product of inequality aversion, but we cannot be sure because the distribution was inevitably unequal. ...
Article
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Envy is the result of a social comparison that shows us a negative image of ourselves. The present study addresses the effect of the context of group comparison and group identification on children's expression of this emotion. Through different stories, participants aged between 6 and 11 years were exposed to four contexts of upward social comparison in which they had to adopt the role of the disadvantaged character. From their emotional responses and their decisions in a resource allocation task, three response profiles were created: malicious envy, benign envy, and non-envy. Although we found important differences between verbal and behavioral responses, the results showed greater envy, both malicious and benign, when the envied was an out-group. On the other hand, when the envied belonged to the in-group and competed with a member of the out-group, malicious but not benign envy practically disappeared. With age, envious responses decreased, and non-envious responses increased. The role of social identity in the promotion and inhibition of envy is discussed, as well as the acquisition of emotional display rules in the benign envy and non-envy profiles.
... For instance, at around this age children state that both they and their peers should share resources equally (Smith, Blake, & Harris, 2013) and reject unequal distributions that disadvantage them (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;LoBue, Nishida, Chiong, DeLoache, & Haidt, 2011;McAuliffe, Blake, Kim, Wrangham, & Warneken, 2013). However, it is not until 7 or 8 years of age that children reject advantageous inequity as well (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Fehr, Bernhard, & Rockenbach, 2008;Kogut, 2012;Smith et al., 2013) and will even choose to throw away a resource rather than receive more than their peer (Shaw & Olson, 2012). Overall, this work indicates that even though the foundations for understanding and expecting fairness are present from early in ontogeny, children's own fairness behavior develops over many years, making it one of the later-emerging forms of cooperation. ...
Poster
When measuring 4- to 9-year-old's reaction times during a novel modified Dictator Game, w e found that younger, but not older children made selfish choices faster than fair choices, and that children's fairness behavior shifts from self-centric to norm-centric around age 7. These findings suggest intuitive cooperation develops slow ly through experience.
... Recall that in Chapter 2, children as young as 4-5 years preferred varied sets (one each of two different items) to non-varied sets (two of the same time), which is consistent with the hypothesis that variety seeking is a foundational preference present early in life. In fact, children, who within this age range tend to show an aversion to inequality (e.g., Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Fehr, Bernhard, & Rockenbach, 2008;Shaw, Choshen-Hillel, & Caruso, 2016;Shaw & Olson, 2012), selected varied sets for themselves even when it was not possible to select a varied set for someone else. Children's selection of varied sets for themselves in a context where they would otherwise seek to distribute equally demonstrates that children are willing to depart from equality when obtaining variety is at stake. ...
Thesis
What basic cues are available from a young age to determine item value? How do these cues influence evaluative decisions about items (including how to distribute them to others)? The work described in this dissertation begins to address these questions, in a series of seven studies with 943 child and adult participants. In Chapter 2, I report three studies testing whether children (4-12 years) and adults show a direct motivation to select scarce and varied sets of items (i.e., select items for the sake of obtaining something scarce and/or something varied). In this series of studies, participants saw sets of novel items and selected one (Scarcity task) or two (Variety task) that they would like for themselves and/or someone else; no additional information beyond relative availability was provided. Results revealed a clear, early-emerging preference for variety. In contrast, no clear preference for scarce items was observed, suggesting that a preference for scarce items is acquired later and/or contextually-dependent. This latter finding is particularly informative given an oft-made assumption that scarcity increases item value. In Chapter 3, I report four studies designed to reveal the mechanisms underlying a variety preference. In Study 4, I tested whether children (6-9 years) and adults valued varied sets more than non-varied sets monetarily, which would suggest that a preference for variety is rooted in the added value it confers. Results revealed that participants indeed placed a higher value on varied compared to non-varied sets. However, results from Study 5 with children (6-9 years) and adults suggest that the added value assigned to variety is not due to variety per se, but likely to the diminished utility of additional units of the same item in non-varied sets (i.e., additional units of an item are less valuable than the previous). In Studies 6 and 7, I tested whether children (4-9 years) and adults would forego an additional unit of a preferred item in order to obtain a varied set of foods (e.g., if carrots are preferred to broccoli, will a participant forego a second carrot to select broccoli and thus obtain a varied set of foods?). Results revealed that in the absence of a preference for one food over another, participants selected varied food sets more than non-varied food sets, thus conceptually replicating results from Studies 1-3. In contrast, when one food item was preferred over another, participants did not preferentially select varied food sets. Together, these results suggest that a preference for an individual item can override a preference for variety. Overall, these seven studies shed light on how children 4-12 years determine item value using two basic cues, scarcity and variety, and inform our understanding of the strength and limits of a variety preference in childhood. More generally, results from the present work demonstrate that young children systematically use variety as a cue to value, which has implications for our understanding of children as consumers more broadly.
... Notwithstanding, a preference for equality or an aversion to unequal distributions in early childhood has been broadly documented in the literature (e.g., Blake et al., 2015;Elenbaas, 2019a;Paulus, 2015). Six to eight-yearold children will even choose to discard a resource instead of having an unequal distribution (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Shaw & Olson, 2012). ...
Article
Although issues of global justice are increasingly considered an important topic to include in elementary school curricula, little is known about children’s perspectives on complex distributive justice issues. This exploratory study investigated children’s understanding of a fair economic distribution between the workers involved in international trade. As part of a classroom project, in mixed-aged groups, 57 elementary school children were invited to discuss how they would fairly divide 30 coins among five workers involved in the banana trade. Results showed that half of the groups decided for equal distributions, based on arguments of strict equality, equal work, equal value, or interdependence. The other half of the groups decided for unequal distributions, based on the different contributions, and costs and profits. In each group, children generally agreed or accepted others’ ideas. Findings provide preliminary insights on how elementary school children collectively reason about distributive justice concerning a complex global issue.
... Contrasting the current findings with previous research on moral judgments of behaviors often motivated by empathy, such as altruism or prosocial behavior, raises several implications worth considering. Developmental research suggests that as children age, they grow more averse to partial inequity but more prone to inequity that disadvantages themselves (Shaw et al., 2016), and that this inequity aversion motivates children to throw away a resource they could have received in the interest of maintaining equity (Shaw & Olson, 2012). Whether this inequity aversion contributes to positive moral judgments of feeling equal empathy is an open question. ...
Article
Empathy has long been considered central to living a moral life. However, mounting evidence has shown that people's empathy is often biased toward (i.e., felt more strongly for) others that they are close or similar to, igniting a debate over whether empathy is inherently morally flawed and should be abandoned in efforts to strive toward greater equity. This debate has focused on whether empathy limits the scope of our morality, but little consideration has been given to whether our moral beliefs may be limiting our empathy. Across two studies conducted on Amazon's Mechanical Turk (N = 604), we investigated moral judgments of biased and equitable feelings of empathy. We observed a moral preference for empathy toward socially close over distant others. However, feeling equal empathy for all people is seen as the most morally and socially valuable approach. These findings provide new theoretical insight into the relationship between empathy and morality, and they have implications for navigating toward a more egalitarian future.
... For instance, while we designed our tasks to avoid certain response biases like overconfidence, there are still many potential biases that children could carry that operate in one task but not the other and could therefore serve to mask any underlying correlation. Children could have maximized their success in the Confidence Task as we intended, but instead maximized fairness over success in the Selective Social Learning Task by alternating between informants rather than consistently choosing the more accurate one (e.g., Shaw & Olson, 2012). This pattern would result in accurate measurement of the Confidence Task, but near chancelike performance on the Selective Social Learning Task. ...
Article
Full-text available
The world can be a confusing place, which leads to a significant challenge: how do we figure out what is true? To accomplish this, children possess two relevant skills: reasoning about the likelihood of their own accuracy (metacognitive confidence) and reasoning about the likelihood of others' accuracy (mindreading). Guided by Signal Detection Theory and Simulation Theory, we examine whether these two self- and other-oriented skills are one in the same, relying on a single cognitive process. Specifically, Signal Detection Theory proposes that confidence in a decision is purely derived from the imprecision of that decision, predicting a tight correlation between decision accuracy and confidence. Simulation Theory further proposes that children attribute their own cognitive experience to others when reasoning socially. Together, these theories predict that children's self and other reasoning should be highly correlated and dependent on decision accuracy. In four studies (N = 374), children aged 4-7 completed a confidence reasoning task and selective social learning task each designed to eliminate confounding language and response biases, enabling us to isolate the unique correlation between self and other reasoning. However, in three of the four studies, we did not find that individual differences on the two tasks correlated, nor that decision accuracy explained performance. These findings suggest self and other reasoning are either independent in childhood, or the result of a single process that operates differently for self and others. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11409-021-09263-x.
... Whereas children show an early understanding of the importance of fairness (Paulus & Moore, 2014;Shaw & Olson, 2012), children also recognize that a fair division does not always require strict equality . When one individual works harder than another, children will deviate from an even distribution of rewards and will endorse distributions that reward the meritorious individual (Baumard, Mascaro, & Chevallier, 2012;Noh, D'Esterre, & Killen, 2019). ...
Article
Unfair advantages can be created either intentionally (e.g., cheating) or unintentionally (e.g., unintended benefit). Little is known regarding how children evaluate different types of advantages in situations where group identity and group membership are made salient. To investigate how children’s group identity influences their evaluations and attribution of intentions in intergroup contexts, children were presented with three hypothetical advantages (unintentionally unfair, intentionally unfair, and fair) in a competitive context created by either an in-group member or an out-group member. Children (N = 120) were 4–6 years of age (n = 59; Mage = 5.29 years) and 7–10 years of age (n = 61; Mage = 8.34 years), including 64 girls and 56 boys. Participants were 67% European American, 18% African American, 11% Asian American, and 4% Hispanic. All participants were assigned to one of two teams in a contest in order to create an in-group/out-group manipulation prior to their evaluation of the actions. Out-group members viewed unintentional unfair and fair advantages as less acceptable than in-group members, but in-group and out-group members were equally negative in their assessment of an intentional transgression. When reasoning about unintentional and intentional unfair advantages, older children referenced the intentions of the advantage creator to justify their decisions more than younger children, whereas younger children reasoned about the impact of the behavior on their team more than older children. These novel findings shed light on developmental and social factors influencing children’s understanding of fairness and intentionality in everyday contexts.
... Previous research has clearly shown two overall tendencies in the way children appraise distributive behaviours. On the one hand, children are sensitive to the relative amount of resources that the various recipients obtain, strongly preferring a fair allocation of resources [e.g., 1,2]. This phenomenon reflects a general inequality aversion. ...
Article
Full-text available
Although children are overall sensitive to inequality and prefer fair allocation of resources, they also often display ingroup favouritism. Inquiring about the factors that can shape the tension between these two driving forces in children, we focused on the role of parents. Extending the limited literature in this field, the present work examined whether individual differences in 3-to 11-year-old White children’s (N = 154, 78 boys) evaluations of fair versus pro-ingroup behaviours in an intergroup context vary as a function of both mothers’ and fathers’ social dominance orientation (SDO), right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), and moral foundations. Parents completed a questionnaire. Children were presented with a scenario in which two ingroup members distributed candies to two other children, one White and one Black, either in an egalitarian way or displaying a clear ingroup favouritism. Afterwards, their attitudes towards the two ingroup members who had distributed the candies were assessed through both an Implicit Association Test and explicit questions. Although children displayed on average an explicit preference for the fair over the pro-ingroup target, this preference did not emerge at the implicit level. Most importantly, both children’s explicit and implicit attitudes were related to mothers’ SDO, indicating that at increasing level of mothers’ SDO children’s inequality aversion tended to drop. Overall, these results emphasize the relevance of mothers’ support for social hierarchy in relation to the way in which children balance the two competing drives of equality endorsement and pro-ingroup bias.
... These basic intuitions may derive from insights into practical mathematics in the world around them, called intuitive action schemas (Riley, 1984;Jitendra and Hoff, 1996;Correa et al., 1998). One hypothesized action schema that supports division is children's knowledge of how to fairly distribute items amongst people (Blake and McAuliffe, 2011;Shaw and Olson, 2012;Sheskin et al., 2016;Hamamouche et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Children bring intuitive arithmetic knowledge to the classroom before formal instruction in mathematics begins. For example, children can use their number sense to add, subtract, compare ratios, and even perform scaling operations that increase or decrease a set of dots by a factor of 2 or 4. However, it is currently unknown whether children can engage in a true division operation before formal mathematical instruction. Here we examined the ability of 6- to 9-year-old children and college students to perform symbolic and non-symbolic approximate division. Subjects were presented with non-symbolic (dot array) or symbolic (Arabic numeral) dividends ranging from 32 to 185, and non-symbolic divisors ranging from 2 to 8. Subjects compared their imagined quotient to a visible target quantity. Both children (Experiment 1 N = 89, Experiment 2 N = 42) and adults (Experiment 3 N = 87) were successful at the approximate division tasks in both dots and numeral formats. This was true even among the subset of children that could not recognize the division symbol or solve simple division equations, suggesting intuitive division ability precedes formal division instruction. For both children and adults, the ability to divide non-symbolically mediated the relation between Approximate Number System (ANS) acuity and symbolic math performance, suggesting that the ability to calculate non-symbolically may be a mechanism of the relation between ANS acuity and symbolic math. Our findings highlight the intuitive arithmetic abilities children possess before formal math instruction.
... For instance, at around this age children state that both they and their peers should share resources equally (Smith, Blake, & Harris, 2013) and reject unequal distributions that disadvantage them (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;LoBue, Nishida, Chiong, DeLoache, & Haidt, 2011;McAuliffe, Blake, Kim, Wrangham, & Warneken, 2013). However, it is not until 7 or 8 years of age that children reject advantageous inequity as well (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Fehr, Bernhard, & Rockenbach, 2008;Kogut, 2012;Smith et al., 2013) and will even choose to throw away a resource rather than receive more than their peer (Shaw & Olson, 2012). Overall, this work indicates that even though the foundations for understanding and expecting fairness are present from early in ontogeny, children's own fairness behavior develops over many years, making it one of the later-emerging forms of cooperation. ...
Article
The current study examined the development of fairness behavior and tested whether children’s fair choices are fast and intuitive or slow and deliberate. Reaction times were measured while 4- to 9-year-olds (N = 94, 49 girls, 84.6% White) completed a novel social decision-making task contrasting fair choices with selfish choices. Fairness behavior increased during childhood, shifting from predominantly selfish choices among young children to fair choices by 7 years of age. Moreover, young children’s fair choices were slow and deliberate, whereas reaction times did not predict older children’s choices. These findings contrast with adults’ intuitive cooperation and point to protracted development and learning of cooperative decision making in fairness contexts.
... With respect to the ontogenesis of humans' "sense of fairness", there seem to be important differences between aversion to DI and AI (Blake et al., 2015;McAuliffe, Blake, Kim, Wrangham, & Warneken, 2013;Corbit, McAuliffe, Callaghan, Blake, & Warneken, 2017). Children across diverse societies show aversion to DI as young as 4 years old (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;Blake et al., 2015;McAuliffe et al., 2013;Shaw & Olson, 2012). In contrast, emergence of aversion to AI is more variable. ...
... Adults, children, and even some non-human primates respond negatively to the unequal distribution of valued resources-even when inequality is personally advantageous (Brosnan & de Waal, 2014). Children as young as 6 years tend to prefer egalitarian resource allocations (Fehr et al., 2008) and may refuse desired items to avoid having more than their peers (Shaw & Olson, 2012). Likewise, chimpanzees have been observed to discard high-value rewards (grapes) when conspecifics receive low-value rewards (carrots) for performing the same task (Brosnan et al., 2010). ...
... Young children also know that they should share equally with others, though it is not until about 7 to 8 years that most actually do so (Fehr et al., 2008;Smith et al., 2013). Sixto 8-year-olds have such a strong tendency toward distributional fairness that they will discard a resource to avoid being unfair and incur a cost to themselves in order to punish unfairness (Blake & McAuliffe, 2011;McAuliffe et al., 2015;Shaw & Olson, 2012). ...
Article
Young children robustly distinguish between moral norms and conventional norms (Smetana, 1984; Yucel et al., 2020). In existing research, norms about the fair distribution of resources are by definition considered part of the moral domain; they are not distinguished from other moral norms such as those involving physical harm. Yet an understanding of fairness in resource distribution (hereafter, "fairness") emerges late in development and is culturally variable, raising the possibility that fairness may not fall squarely in the moral domain. In 2 preregistered studies, we examined whether U.S. American children who were primarily White see fairness as a moral or conventional norm. In study 1 (N = 96), we did not obtain the established moral-conventional difference needed to investigate questions about the status of fairness. We improved our design in our second preregistered study. In study 2 (N = 94), 4-year-olds rated moral transgressions (e.g., hitting) as more serious than fairness and conventional transgressions (e.g., wearing pajamas to school), but importantly, they rated fairness and conventional transgressions as similarly serious. In contrast, 6- and 8-year-olds rated moral transgressions as more serious than fairness and conventional transgressions, and fairness as more serious than conventional transgressions. An additional, forced-choice procedure revealed that most 6-year-olds also categorized fairness with moral rather than conventional transgressions; 4- and 8-year-olds' responses on this measure did not show systematic patterns. U.S. American children may not equate norms of fairness in resource distribution with harm-based moral norms, even into middle childhood. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
Chapter
Social norms pervade almost every feature of social life, serve to foster social order, and to stabilize cooperation. Different theories have been suggested to explain why people comply with social norms and why they cooperate with others when there are many incentives to behave selfishly. A compelling theory proposes that norm-compliance and widespread cooperation are maintained and reinforced through the human propensity to punish norm transgressors. This chapter resumes and discusses evidence from behavioral sciences and neuroscience that explains the human propensity to comply with social norms, to deviate from them, and the role of punishment to regulate human social behavior. These insights could contribute to a deeper and more integrated understanding of these processes which are pivotal foundations of the modern systems of justice.
Article
To distribute resources in a fair way, identifying an appropriate outcome is not enough: We must also find a way to produce it. To solve this problem, young children spontaneously use number words and counting in fairness tasks. We hypothesized that children are also sensitive to other people's use of counting, as it reveals that the distributor was motivated to produce the outcome they believed was fair. Across four experiments, we show that U.S. children (N = 184 from the New Haven area; ages four to six; Approximately 58% White, 16% Black, 18% Hispanic, 4% Asian, and 4% other) believe that agents who count when distributing resources are more fair than agents who produce the same outcome without counting, even when both agents invest the same amount of effort. And vice versa, when the same two agents produce an unfair outcome, children now condemn the agent who counted. Our findings suggest that, from childhood, people understand that counting reflects a motivation to be precise and use this to evaluate other people's behavior in fairness contexts.
Article
Third‐party punishment is an important mechanism to enforce norm‐following. However, the underlying process that explains the development of third‐party punishment is understood poorly. Here we examine to what extent age‐effects and contemporaneous experiences of receiving unfair offers influence third‐party punishment. In two studies, a total of N = 280 5‐ to 9‐year‐olds participated in a computer‐based task in which they received either fair or unfair offers from another peer. In the subsequent test phase, children could punish unfair offers as an unaffected third‐party. We found that with age, children become increasingly systematic in their decisions to punish unfair allocations. However, there was no strong evidence that an immediate experience of (un)fairness influenced children's punishment. Together, our results suggest that children develop a sophisticated application of fairness norms with age that is not easily swayed by their immediate experience of being treated unfairly.
Article
An underlying aspect of the development of fairness is the aversion to unequal treatment toward equally deserving parties. By middle childhood, children from Western cultures are even willing to discard resources to avoid inequity. Here, a series of four studies were conducted to assess the robustness of inequity aversion in a culture that emphasizes the value of "Thrift" (i.e., waste aversion). Seven-year-old Chinese participated in third-party (N = 83) and first-person (N = 116) distributive interactions and considered both inequity aversion and waste aversion. Our findings demonstrate that Chinese children accepted inequity (unlike Americans) in the presence of waste but avoided inequity (similar to Americans) in the absence of waste. Cultural and noncultural accounts of waste aversion are discussed.
Article
Attributions, or lay explanations for inequality, have been linked to inequality-relevant behavior. In adults and children, attributing inequality to an individual rather than contextual or structural causes is linked to greater support for economic inequality and less equitable giving. However, few studies have directly examined the relationship between parent and child attributions for inequality. Additionally, it remains unclear whether attributing inequality to individually controllable sources such as effort might lead children to allocate resources more inequitably than individually uncontrollable sources like innate ability. Across three studies (N = 698), we examine the developmental origins and behavioral consequences of inequality beliefs by exploring parent and children's (7–14 years old) attributions for unequal situations. In Study 1, parents, recruited through MTurk, preferred to explain inequality to their children by attributing disparities to effort rather than uncontrollable causes such as ability or luck. In Study 2, in a sample of affluent and mostly white families in Vancouver and Boston, parent attributions for inequality predicted children's attributions, such that children were more than two times as likely to attribute inequality to effort when their parents did. In Study 3, when a convenience sample of children from Washington state were brought to the laboratory and told that an inequality between two groups was due to effort, they were more likely to perpetuate the inequality by giving to the individual who already had more resources. This research documents a cycle of inequality perpetuation by demonstrating that parent attributions for inequality predict their children's attributions and that these attributions affect children's equitable giving. This work highlights the importance of examining the perceived controllability of inequality.
Article
Cooperative societies rely on reward and punishment for norm enforcement. We examined the developmental origin of these interventions in the context of distributive fairness: past research has shown that infants expect resources to be distributed fairly, prefer to interact with fair distributors, and evaluate others based on their fair and unfair resource allocations. In order to determine whether infants would intervene in third-party resource distributions by use of reward and punishment we developed a novel task. Sixteen-month-old infants were taught that one side of a touch screen produces reward (vocal statements expressing praise; giving a cookie), whereas the other side produces punishment when touched (vocal statements expressing admonishment; taking away a cookie). After watching videos in which one actor distributed resources fairly and another actor distributed resources unfairly, participants' screen touches on the reward and punishment panels while the fair and unfair distributors appeared on screen were recorded. Infants touched the reward side significantly more than the punishment side when presented with the fair distributor but touched the screen sides equally when the unfair distributor was shown. Control experiments revealed no evidence of reward or punishment when infants saw food items they liked and disliked, or individuals uninvolved in the resource distribution events. These results provide the earliest evidence that infants are able to spontaneously intervene in socio-moral situations by rewarding positive actions.
Article
Reaching agreements in conflicts is an important developmental challenge. Here, German 5‐year‐olds (N = 284, 49% female, mostly White, mixed socioeconomic backgrounds; data collection: June 2016–November 2017) faced repeated face‐to‐face bargaining problems in which they chose between fair and unfair reward divisions. Across three studies, children mostly settled on fair divisions. However, dominant children tended to benefit more from bargaining outcomes (in Study 1 and 2 but not Study 3) and children mostly failed to use leverage to enforce fairness. Communication analyses revealed that children giving orders to their partner had a bargaining advantage and that children provided and responded to fairness reasons. These findings indicate that fairness concerns and dominance are both key factors that shape young children's bargaining decisions.
Article
The present study applied an action-based paradigm to investigate young Chinese children’s sense of restorative justice in moral transgressions. A total of 49 3-year-olds (Mage = 3.57 years, SD = 0.33, 53% girls) and 48 5-year-olds (Mage = 5.02 years, SD = 0.21, 50% girls) participated in the study. We randomly assigned each child to one of four between-subject treatments (theft, unfairness, loss, and permitted taking) in both second- and third-party conditions. The children’s intervention levels and their spontaneous behavioral and verbal responses were rigorously coded and analyzed. The results indicated that three- and five-year-old children were likely to engage in restorative behavior. These findings basically replicated the results of Riedl and colleagues’ pioneering experiment (2015) conducted in Germany while revealing cultural nuances. The 3-year-olds’ demonstration of a stronger level of intervention than their 5-year-old counterparts constitutes a thought-provoking finding.
Article
From an early age, children act generously towards one another, but the situational features that promote generous decision‐making remain under investigation. The current study tests the impact of being identifiable—as a recipient of generosity, a giver, or both—on children's generosity. Six‐year‐old children (N = 129) allocated resources to a recipient during a video chat paradigm. Children were most generous when both they and the recipient could identify one another (i.e., in the case of mutual identification). Children were less generous in an anonymous situation and in ‘one‐sided’ situations in which only the recipient or only the giver was identifiable to the other child. These results illustrate that mutual identification, an ecologically valid experience of being able to identify and be identified by a recipient of one's generous action, is an especially powerful contributor to generous decision‐making in childhood. Further, insofar as increasing generosity among children is a goal, these results indicate that increasing identifiability among givers and recipients may be an effective way to achieve this goal.
Article
Z Adalete ilişkin karar alma ahlak psikolojisi alan yazınında en önemli konulardan biri olarak kabul edilmektedir. Bulgular, kişilerin diğerlerinden daha azına (dezavantajlı haksızlık) veya daha fazlasına sahip oldukları durumlarda (avantajlı haksızlık) adalete ilişkin hassasiyetlerinden ötürü bedel ödeyerek haksızlığı reddettiklerini göstermektedir. Gelişimsel psikoloji alanındaki incelemelere göre haksızlıktan kaçınma olarak adlandırılan bu davranışın ortaya çıkmasının altında farklı mekanizmalar rol oynayabilir. Haksızlıktan kaçınma davranışının ortaya çıktığı yaşa ilişkin kültürel farklılıkları inceleyen çalışmalar, farklı kültürlerde dezavantajlı haksızlıktan kaçınma davranışının benzer bir gelişimsel seyre sahip iken; avantajlı haksızlıktan kaçınmanın farklı yaşlarda ortaya çıktığını göstermektedir. Bu durum, avantajlı haksızlıktan kaçınma davranışının ortaya çıktığı yaşa ilişkin sosyalleşme pratiklerinin ve kültürel faktörlerin rolünün daha baskın olduğuna işaret etmektedir. Buna paralel olarak, bu derleme çalışmasında öncelikle, güncel ahlak psikolojisi alan yazınındaki adalete ilişkin hakim yaklaşımlara değinilmiş, ardından haksızlıktan kaçınma davranışını gelişimsel boyutta ele alan çalışmalar kültürel farklar gözetilerek özetlenmiştir. Birlikte ele alındığında, önceki çalışmalar haksızlıktan kaçınma davranışına ilişkin stratejilerin zenginleşmesini yaşla beraber sosyal bağlamın ve itibar kaygısının rolünün artmasıyla açıklamaktadır. Buradan hareketle, farklı kültürlerde farklı sosyal pratiklerin itibar kaygısını azaltmada işlevsel bir rolü olduğu ve bu durumun özellikle avantajlı haksızlıktan kaçınma davranışına ilişkin davranışların gelişimsel seyrinde kültürlerarası farklara yol açtığı düşünülmektedir. Bununla birlikte, güncel çalışmaların sonuçları ele alındığında, bu dinamiklerin anlaşılması için bireyci ve toplulukçu ikili sınıflandırması üzerinden yapılan açıklamaların yetersiz kaldığı görülmektedir. Gelecek çalışmalarda bireyci ve toplulukçu ikili sınıflandırması üzerinden yapılan açıklamaların ötesine geçebilmek için, toplumdaki belirli sosyalleşme dinamiklerinin rollerini, ailedeki ebeveyn beklentilerini ve akrabalarla yaygın olarak kabul gören sosyal etkileşim uygulamalarının rollerini daha detaylı incelemenin ilgili alana önemli ölçüde katkı sunması beklenmektedir. Anahtar Kelimeler: Ahlak psikolojisi, adalet, haksızlıktan kaçınma davranışı, ahlaki gelişim * Yazar notu: Makalenin yazım sürecinde gösterdikleri değerli destek ve önerileri için Dr. Öğr. Üyesi Hasan Galip Bahçekapılı, Prof. Dr. Sevim Cesur ve Doç. Dr. Mehmet Harma'ya teşekkürlerimi sunarım. 1 Doktora Öğrencisi, İstanbul Üniversitesi
Article
To understand complex and multifaceted nature of judgments about equality, this research investigated adolescents’ judgments and reasoning about social inequalities among different social groups. Adolescents ranging in age from 12 to 17 years (N = 72) were presented with hypothetical situations depicting inequalities in distribution of resources among different groups based on social class, race, and gender. The situations bearing on social class inequalities involved allocation of resources associated with levels of personal wealth, and the other situations pertained to inequalities based on group characteristics of race and gender. Although the majority of adolescents negatively evaluated the inequalities in all situations, fewer judged the inequalities as unacceptable in the situations pertaining to social class inequalities involving personal goods. The evaluations about the inequalities based on race or gender were not contingent on conflicting personal choices, authority, rules, or common practices and were justified mostly with considerations of equality. However, when making judgments about inequalities based on social class, adolescents attended to the need to promote others’ welfare and nonmoral concerns in the personal and conventional domains.
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Research has shown that children’s inequity aversion to disadvantage (DI) emerges in preschool years, whereas their inequity aversion to advantage (AI) does not always emerge during childhood across societies. Here we tested children in China, where children are exposed to Confucian values such as “suffering a disadvantage is a blessing”, suggesting that Chinese children might show a different developmental pattern of stronger emphasis of AI as compared to DI. Four- to twelve-year-old Chinese children (N = 178 pairs, 90 girls) participated in the Inequity Game to explore when DI and AI emerges. Two experiments demonstrated that DI emerged around the age of five and AI emerged around the age of seven, a pattern similar to findings from studies with Western children. By including Chinese sample, the present work extends previous insight that DI emerges earlier than AI. Chinese unique cultural background emphasizing self-discipline and reputation are discussed to interpret the early and pronounced aversion to advantageous inequity in a non-WEIRD society.
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Children are remarkably concerned with fairness, yet social evaluations often lead to partiality in fairness behavior. For instance, children share more generously with in‐group peers and allocate resources based on the material need of recipients. The goal of the present study was to examine how children developing in Canada and Iran privilege group status and recipient need when allocating resources. We assigned children (5–6 years of age) from Canada (n = 42) and Iran (N = 46) to teams using the minimal group paradigm and allowed them to allocate resources between themselves and recipients who varied in terms of need (high and low) and group status (in‐group and out‐group). No effect of recipient need was found in either society. In both societies, children were not impacted by need, but were more likely to give up a personal advantage and allocate resources equally with in‐group recipients. Our findings reveal convergence across diverse societies in the influence of in‐group bias on children's resource allocation decisions.
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The occurrence of cooperation poses a problem for the biological and social sciences. However, many aspects of the biological and social science literatures on this subject have developed relatively independently, with a lack of interaction. This has led to a number of misunderstandings with regard to how natural selection operates and the conditions under which cooperation can be favoured. Our aim here is to provide an accessible overview of social evolution theory and the evolutionary work on cooperation, emphasising common misconceptions.
The theoretical precision and research related to equity theory, as it is conceived by Adams, are reviewed. While equity theory is a significant step forward, the theory itself needs further specification. The research supports equity predictions in the area of underpayment, but the overpayment effects have not been satisfactorily demonstrated. Elaborations of the theory are presented in the areas of (1) determinants of inequity, (2) dissatisfaction resulting from inequity, and (3) responses to dissatisfaction.
Article
To investigate children's sharing of preferred and nonpreferred food with same-sex peers, 57 3-5-year-old children participated twice as potential sharers-once with a friend and once with an acquaintance. Food was unequally distributed, with the target child receiving 10 pieces each of preferred and nonpreferred food and the potential recipient only 1. Half of the target children had been recipients before becoming sharers. The analysis revealed a sex X relationship interaction, with girls sharing more with friends than with acquaintances, and boys not sharing differentially. Most sharing was actually elicited by the potential recipient, with friends being more active elicitors; spontaneous and passive sharing were rare. The type of previous experience as a recipient influenced subsequent sharing behavior: children who had received food earlier were more likely to share than those who had not.
Article
Three experiments explored the effects of different magnitudes of reward inequity on behavior in a cooperative seeting. Pairs of subjects could work on either cooperative or individual tasks, where rewards for cooperation were greater but inequitable. One subject received either two, three, or five times as much as his partner. In the common part of each experiment, withdrawal from the cooperative to the lower paying individual task was the only rewarding alternative to cooperation and the attendant inequity. The results indicated that a substantial proportion of subjects will forego rewards to avoid inequitable conditions. Both the frequency and length of withdrawal increased with inequity magnitude. At least some withdrawal occurred in 40% of the pairs under large inequity, in 25% of the pairs under moderate inequity, and in 15% under small inequity. In the second part of the moderate inequity experiment, inequity was rectifiable by reward transfer. In half of the pairs subjects could give money to one another; in the other half subjects could take money. Most subjects eventually transferred sufficient amounts to produce partial or total equity. The mode of transfer (giving or taking) had little effect on the likelihood that equity and cooperation would be achieved. The availability of either means of transfer increased the likelihood of withdrawal during periods when no transfers were made.
Article
Cooperative behavior depends in part on a preference for equitable outcomes. Recent research in behavioral economics assesses variables that influence adult concerns for equity, but few studies to date investigate the emergence of equitable behavior in children using similar economic games. We tested 288 3- to 6-year olds in an anonymous Dictator Game to assess how the value of the currency used affects equity preferences in children. To manipulate value, children played the game with their most or least favorite stickers. At all ages, we found a strong value effect with children donating more of their least favorite stickers than their favorite stickers. We also found a dramatic increase with age in the percentage of children who were prosocial (i.e. donated at least one sticker). However, children who were prosocial tended to give the same proportion of stickers at all ages – about half of their least favorite stickers and 40% of their favorite stickers. These findings highlight the influence of resource value on children's preference for equity, and provide evidence for two different processes underlying altruistic giving: the decision to donate at all and the decision about how much to donate.
Article
In this commentary, we review and question Brosnan's hypothesis that inequity aversion (IA) evolved as a domain-specific social mechanism. We then outline an alternative, domain-general, account of IA. As opposed to Brosnan's social hypothesis, we propose that IA evolved from more general reward mechanisms. In particular, we argue reference-dependence and loss-aversion can account for the evolution of IA in primates. We discuss recent work on reference-depen- dence and explore how it may have given rise to inequality-averse behavior in social settings. We conclude with suggestions for future work examining the proximate mechanisms that give rise to IA.
Article
It has been suggested that preschool children prefer to divide equally rather than follow an equity norm when distributing rewards. Results from 2 studies contradicted this view by demonstrating that preschoolers often do give higher reward to the better of 2 performers. The tendency to give more to the better performer appeared stronger in boys than in girls. However, there was little difference between boys and girls when the children believed a female adult would evaluate the appropriateness of their distribution of the reward.
Article
The current study examines developing changes in children's intuitions about why disagreements about decisions might occur, focusing on what children understand about partiality and how it may vary depending on the context. Eighty children ages 6 to 13 years old and 20 adults were presented with stories in which there was a disagreement with the judge about who the winner of a contest should be. Participants were asked to generate their own explanations for why the disagreement may have occurred and to evaluate the plausibility of different explanations provided by the experimenter. Even 6-year-olds generated and endorsed partiality as a possible explanation for disagreement, although they did so at a lower rate than older children. A richer understanding of how context influences both the reasons for disagreement and the likelihood of partiality seems to develop over childhood.
Article
In many temperate ecosystems succession from pine forest to hardwoods is interrupted by fire, resulting in a fire climax dominated by pines1–3. As natural selection operates through both processes of succession and fire, early serai plants that are poor competitors may exhibit fire-facilitating characteristics whereas late serai plants that are superior competitors may show fire-retarding traits. Potential fire-retarding and fire-facilitating traits of plant foliage have been measured4–7, but then- effects on survival or reproduction have never been demonstrated in the field7,8. We report here that maximum temperatures, recorded during fires in a mixed oak-pine woodland, were sufficiently higher under pines than under oaks to ensure elimination of the competitively superior oaks in the vicinity of adult pines.
Article
By employing on two monkeys and two twin boys the two new methods of placing food or other reward in a container before the eyes of the subject and placing the container behind the screen of a two-alternative problem contrivance, and of substituting one container for the other or one reward for another without the subject's knowledge, an effort was made to discover the presence of representative factors (ideated cues) in the subject effective during long delays between stimulus and freedom for approach to the reward. Monkeys can choose the food-bearing container by means of differential sensory cues and by spatial cues. Right or left (from the animal) positions and the relative surroundings of the container served as spatial cues. The two monkeys made successful choices in 80% of all trials after various delays from a few seconds up to twenty hours. Their responses, even without overt bodily orientation or where orientation was impossible, were frequently correct. Glancing, during the period of delay, just prior to an overt response, from the position of one container to that of the other, suggested the reinstatement of the cue as a sequel to the disorientation which had previously been effected. "Disappointment," hesitation, and searching behavior, of the monkeys as well as of the boys, upon the discovery of substituted food or substituted container, suggested the presence of representative factors which symbolized the qualitative aspects of the reward. Similarly, evidence was observed suggesting the representation of the quantitative aspects of the reward. Four figures, one plate, five tables, and eighteen references. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A number of studies indicate that preadolescents allocate more rewards to those who have done more work. J. S. Adams's (1965) equity theory is most often used to explain this finding. One assumption of equity theory is that persons compute ratios and compare them for proportionality. However, research on logico-mathematical development indicates that children do not solve problems of proportionality until they are 11–25 yrs old. This suggests that equity theory may not be an adequate explanation of how children allocate rewards in experiments on equity. Children's allocation behaviors do change with age, from the possibly self-interested or equal allocations of children under 6 yrs, to the descriptive ordinal equity allocations of 6–22-yr-olds, to the possibly proportional allocations of persons 13 yrs and older. This sequence is consistent with the normal sequence of logico-mathematical development, suggesting that observed allocation behaviors may be a function of cognitive ability as well as manipulated situational variables. (77 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The current study focused on jealousy between toddler and preschool siblings. Sixty-two families participated in triadic interaction sessions, in which mothers and then fathers were instructed to focus on one child (older sibling or toddler) while encouraging the other child to play with other toys in the room. Results indicated that child jealousy reactions differed between mothers and fathers, and parents behaved differently with older and younger siblings. Although older and younger siblings showed jealousy, older children were better than their toddler-age siblings at regulating jealousy responses and engaging in focused play. Further, younger siblings showed differences in jealous behavior when interacting with each parent, whereas older siblings showed somewhat greater behavioral consistency across parents, indicating internalization of emotion regulation style. Mothers expressed more happiness than fathers, and parents responded differently to older versus younger siblings’ behaviors. Findings underscore the importance of examining emotion regulation processes within salient family relationships and of considering sibling interaction as a socialization context in which young children learn to negotiate emotional challenges.
Article
Twelve-month old infants (N = 76) experienced 4 situations of unresponsiveness in which their mothers and a stranger directed positive attention toward a doll or a picture book while they ignored the infant. Infants demonstrated more protest, negative vocalizations and inhibited play during the doll condition, particularly if the doll was held by the mother. Infant contacts with the mother were more frequent when the mother held the doll. Infants’ distress during the mother/doll condition was interpreted as jealousy.
Article
Fairness is central to morality. Previous research has shown that children begin to understand fairness between the ages of four and six, depending on the context and method used. Within distributive contexts, there is little clear evidence that children have a concept of fairness before the age of five. This research, however, has mostly examined children's explicit verbal responses to questions about unequal distributions—a method that often underestimates children's knowledge. In the current study, we instead examined emotional and behavioral signs that children notice and dislike inequality. We distributed an unequal number of rewards (stickers) among pairs of children (the ages of three to five years) and probed their responses to the inequality. Both implicit and explicit measures revealed that children as young as three years old notice and react negatively to an unfair distribution, particularly when they receive less than their partner. The few age trends that were found involved verbal (explicit) responses, providing evidence that although children do not explicitly talk about fairness until the age of five or six, this talk is an effort to explain emotional reactions that emerged earlier in development.
Book
Is it better to be a big frog in a small pond or a small frog in a big pond? In this lively and original book, the author argues persuasively that people's concerns about status permeate and profoundly alter a broad range of human behaviour. He takes issue with his fellow economists for too often neglecting fundamental elements in human nature in their study of how people make basic economic choices.
Article
Equity theory predicts that one's inputs and outcomes are evaluated in relation to the inputs and outcomes of others. Inequity can result from getting fewer outcomes or more outcomes than relevant others. For example, workers may feel dissatisfied with their wages if they are either overpaid or underpaid relative to their coworkers. Although the underpaid hypothesis has received a good deal of research support, the overpaid hypothesis has not. In fact, research on the latter prediction has been confined almost exclusively to laboratory experiments. This paper presents the results of three field tests of the overpaid/underpaid predictions of equity theory. Three national probability samples, involving many different kinds of workers and companies, show a curvilinear relationship between perceptions of equity and pay level satisfaction. The data show that both being underpaid and overpaid relative to comparison standards results in greater pay dissatisfaction than those who are compensated equitably. As predicted by Adams (1965), however, the threshold for overpayment inequity is higher than that for underpayment. Results are consistent across different measures within and across studies. Implications of the results are discussed.
Article
Four experiments examined children's ability to use their knowledge to guide their behavior in a dimensional change (color-shape) card sort. In Experiment 1, 3- and 4-year-olds were told to sort cards first by one dimension (e.g., color: “Yellow ones go here; green ones go there”) and then by the other. The majority of 3-year-olds continued to use the preswitch rules on the postswitch phase, despite expressing knowledge of the postswitch rules by pointing to the appropriate location when asked about each rule. Experiment 2 found that this dissociation between knowledge and its use occurs even after a single preswitch trial. Experiments 3 and 4 demonstrated that the dissociation also occurs when verbal rather than manual responses are required. Together, the findings indicate that knowing rules is sometimes insufficient to permit their use. According to the cognitive complexity and control theory, the growth of reflection between 3 and 5 years of age underlies increases in control over thought and action by allowing children to integrate incompatible pairs of rules into a single rule system.
Article
Toddlers' spontaneous prosocial responses to their peer's crying distress were examined in this study. Forty-three children ranging in age from 16 to 33 months were observed as they interacted with their peers in day-care centers. Each child was observed for 16, 5-min periods. If a child cried, the response of the peer and the response of the teacher were recorded. Teachers independently identified peer friendships. Ninety-three percent of peer responses to cries were prosocial in nature. Children who responded more often prosocially to crying peers were the children who more often cried themselves. The response of the teacher to the child's own cry was related to that child's response to a peer. Children were more likely to respond to friends' cries than to cries of acquaintances.
Article
We used simple economic games to examine pro-social behavior and the lengths that people will take to avoid engaging in it. Over two studies, we found that about one-third of participants were willing to “exit” a $10 dictator game and take $9 instead. The exit option left the receiver nothing, but also ensured that the receiver never knew that a dictator game was to be played. Because most social utility models are defined over monetary outcomes, they cannot explain choosing the ($9, $0) exit outcome over the dominating $10 dictator game, since the game includes outcomes of ($10, $0) and ($9, $1). We also studied exiting using a “private” dictator game. In the private game, the receiver never knew about the game or from where any money was received. Gifts in this game were added innocuously to a payment for a separate task. Almost no dictators exited from the private game, indicating that receivers’ beliefs are the key factor in the decision to exit. When, as in the private game, the receivers’ beliefs and expectations cannot be manipulated by exit, exit is seldom taken. We conclude that giving often reflects a desire not to violate others’ expectations rather than a concern for others’ welfare per se. We discuss the implications of our results for understanding ethical decisions and for testing and modeling social preferences. An adequate specification of social preferences should include “psychological” payoffs that directly incorporate beliefs about actions into the utility function.