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Young children share rewards based on merit

Date:
August 29, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Young children take merit into account when sharing resources, according to new research.

Young children take merit into account when sharing resources, according to research published Aug. 29 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

The study, conducted by Patricia Kanngiesser and Felix Warneken at Harvard University, showed that 3 and 5-year-olds considered both the amount of work they contributed themselves and their partner's contribution level when doling out rewards.

This sharing pattern is not infallible though; the researchers found that the children did have a self-serving bias, and few of them gave away more than half of the reward, even when their partner had worked more.

"It was long thought that young children only care about their own benefit when distributing rewards, but our findings show that they are sensitive to fairness principles like merit. Our sense of fairness thus already develops in early childhood," says Dr. Kanngiesser.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Patricia Kanngiesser, Felix Warneken. Young Children Consider Merit when Sharing Resources with Others. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (8): e43979 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043979

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Young children share rewards based on merit." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120829171937.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, August 29). Young children share rewards based on merit. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120829171937.htm
Public Library of Science. "Young children share rewards based on merit." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120829171937.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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