Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Collaboration encourages equal sharing in children but not in chimpanzees

Date:
July 22, 2011
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Children as young as three years of age share toy rewards equally with a peer, but only when both collaborated in order to gain them, according to new research. However, in a new study, chimpanzees did not show this connection between sharing resources and collaborative efforts.

Young chimpanzees eat their "spoils" after a feeding. Even jointly gained resources are rarely shared by chimpanzees.
Credit: Felix Warneken

Children as young as three years of age share toy rewards equally with a peer, but only when both collaborated in order to gain them. Katharina Hamann with an international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, Harvard University and the Michigan State University found that sharing in children that young is a pure collaborative phenomenon: when kids received rewards not cooperatively but as a windfall, or worked individually next to one another, they kept the majority of toys for themselves. One of humans' closest living relatives, chimpanzees, did not show this connection between sharing resources and collaborative efforts.

The research is reported in the journal Nature.

Adult humans produce a vast majority of their resources in cooperative work with others. Moreover, they generally try to distribute them based on norms of fairness and equity. With regard to children, previous studies have shown that when adults provide rewards as a windfall and ask children to share, 3-year-olds behave rather selfishly.

However, the present studies show that even 3-year-olds do take note of whether or not rewards were produced collaboratively, which in turn affects their tendency to allocate the toys equally.

Pairs of 2- and 3-year-old children had to manipulate an apparatus in order to gain toys (marbles). In study 1, they had to pull two ends of a rope at the same time in order to make a board with the marbles move towards them. Once the movement was done, children could retrieve the toys; however, one child received 3 and the other only 1. This was compared to a windfall situation without any collaborative rope-pulling but the same distribution of toys.

In studies 2 and 3, children participated either in a collaboration, a windfall or a parallel work condition, with the latter requiring the same amount of work input by both children (just as in the collaboration), but now each child could pull his or her own rope independently of the other child. In all three studies, three year olds, and to some degree even two year olds, shared their toys only after a collaboration but not after individual or no work was carried out.

Therefore, "the ontogenetically first sense of distributive justice may be that participation in a collaborative effort demands an equal division of spoils," says Katharina Hamann.

Chimpanzees, however, did not share more often after collaboration than in a windfall situation. Also in the wild, they only rarely actively collaborate for subsistence. Therefore, they may not have evolved a tendency to distribute resources more equally when those resources result from a collaboration.

"Taken together," Hamann summarizes, "the primordial situation for human sharing of resources may be that which follows cooperative activities such as collaborative foraging, when multiple individuals must share the spoils of their joint efforts."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Katharina Hamann, Felix Warneken, Julia R. Greenberg, Michael Tomasello. Collaboration encourages equal sharing in children but not in chimpanzees. Nature, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nature10278

Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Collaboration encourages equal sharing in children but not in chimpanzees." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110720142007.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2011, July 22). Collaboration encourages equal sharing in children but not in chimpanzees. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110720142007.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Collaboration encourages equal sharing in children but not in chimpanzees." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110720142007.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins