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What's fair? How children assign reward to members of teams with differing causal structures

Koskuba, K; Gerstenberg, T; Gordon, H; Lagnado, D; Schlottmann, A; (2018) What's fair? How children assign reward to members of teams with differing causal structures. Cognition , 177 pp. 234-248. 10.1016/j.cognition.2018.03.016. Green open access

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Abstract

How do children reward individual members of a team that has just won or lost a game? We know that from pre-school age, children consider agents’ performance when allocating reward. Here we assess whether children can go further and appreciate performance in context: The same pattern of performance can contribute to a team outcome in different ways, depending on the underlying rule framework. Two experiments, with three age groups (4/5-year-olds, 6/7-year-olds, and adults), varied performance of team members, with the same performance patterns considered under three different game rules for winning or losing. These three rules created distinct underlying causal structures (additive, conjunctive, disjunctive), for how individual performance affected the overall team outcome. Even the youngest children differentiated between different game rules in their reward allocations. Rather than only rewarding individual performance, or whether the team won/lost, children were sensitive to the team structure and how players’ performance contributed to the win/loss under each of the three game rules. Not only do young children consider it fair to allocate resources based on merit, but they are also sensitive to the causal structure of the situation which dictates how individual contributions combine to determine the team outcome.

Type: Article
Title: What's fair? How children assign reward to members of teams with differing causal structures
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2018.03.016
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.03.016
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 cognition, Moral development, Fairness, Equity, Causal structures
UCL classification: UCL
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 > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10045702
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