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
Current View