Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Preschoolers consider (absent) others when choosing a distribution procedure.

  • Author(s): Grocke, Patricia;
  • Rossano, Federico;
  • Tomasello, Michael
  • et al.

This study investigated how the presence of others and anticipated distributions for self influence children's fairness-related decisions in two different socio-moral contexts. In the first part, three- and five-year-old children (N = 120) decided between a fair and an unfair wheel of fortune to allocate resources (procedural justice). In the second part, they directly chose between two distributions of resources (distributive justice). While making a decision, each child was either observed by the affected group members (public), alone (private), or no others were introduced (non-social control). Children choose the fair option more often when others were affected (independently of their presence) only in the procedural justice task. These results suggest that using a fair procedure to distribute resources allows young preschoolers to overcome selfish tendencies.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View