Children Show In-group Favoritism in Altruistic Giving towards Natural Disasters

[Speaker] Li, Yiyuan:1
[Co-author] Lee, Kang:2, Li, Hong:3, Decety, Jean:4
1:Southwest Jiaotong University (China (People's Republic of China)), 2:University of Toronto (Canada), 3:Shenzhen University (China (People's Republic of China)), 4:University of Chicago (United States of America)

Children show more generosity when experiencing or witnessing a natural disaster. This study investigated further whether they exhibit in-group favoritism towards such disaster-induced altruism. Five hundred and ninety-one rural 9-year-olds from China were randomly assigned four experiments, in which they were presented pictures showing natural disasters in China, Japan, and Haiti, with or without verbal cues of social group. Then, children participated in a child-friendly Dictator Game where they donated their favorite stickers to their classmates or the child victims of the disasters. Without group cues, children performed more generously in the conditions of disaster-in-China and disaster-in-Japan than in the condition of disaster-in-Haiti. With group cues, they just gave more in the disaster-in-China condition. Additionally, whether or not there were cues, there were no differences in emotional response to disasters. These results suggest steady in-group favoritism in children's altruistic giving towards natural disasters. Evolutionary reasons and social learning were discussed.
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