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

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

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.

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