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Enhancing behavioral control increases sharing in children

Steinbeis, N; Over, H; (2017) Enhancing behavioral control increases sharing in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology , 159 pp. 310-318. 10.1016/j.jecp.2017.02.001. Green open access

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Abstract

Young children endorse norms of fairness but rarely act on them. We investigated whether a failure of behavioral control can partially explain why children do not share more generously than they do. We experimentally manipulated behavioral control and observed its effects on sharing in 120 children aged 6–9 years of age. Using a between-participants design, we presented children with stories in which a protagonist either exerted behavioral control in an unrelated context or not. Following this, children engaged in a sharing task. We found that children who had been read a story promoting behavioral control shared more than children who had been read a neutral story. This effect held over two different types of instruction. Perceptions of fairness, on the other hand, were identical across conditions. These findings speak to the importance of behavioral control in prosocial behavior, and specifically sharing, during middle childhood.

Type: Article
Title: Enhancing behavioral control increases sharing in children
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2017.02.001
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2017.02.001
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Psychology, Developmental, Psychology, Experimental, Psychology, Prosocial behavior, Sharing, Priming, Behavioral control, Fairness, Social norms, PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR, 3RD-PARTY OSTRACISM, PREFRONTAL CORTEX, SELF-REGULATION, YOUNG-CHILDREN, INTENTIONS, CHILDHOOD, IMITATION, FAIRNESS, ONTOGENY
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10044754
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