The Impact of Social Comparison on The Gap between 3~8 year-old Children’s Fairness Cognition and Behavior

[Speaker] Liu, Wen:1
[Co-author] ZHANG, YU:2, TU, XINTIAN:3
1:Liaoning Normal University (China (People's Republic of China)), 2:Liaoning Normal University, (China (People's Republic of China)), 3:Miami University (United States of America)

Children endorse fairness norms related to sharing, but often act in contradiction to those norms when given a chance to share. They are typically not averse to others receiving less than themselves. Here we offer clear evidence of this discrepancy and go on to examine the possible explanations for its diminution with age. In study 1, 240 3~8 years old children readily stated that they themselves should share equally, nevertheless, children failed to engage in equal sharing until ages 7–8. In study 2, we found that 5~6 years old children would take a cost to avoid being disadvantaged, and they would spitefully take a cost to ensure that another’s welfare falls below their own. These results suggest the development of fairness concerns among 3~8 year-old children includes overcoming an initial social comparison preference for ensuring that one gets no less than others.
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