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Non-Egalitarian Allocations among Preschool Peers in a Face-to-Face Bargaining Task

Melis, AP; Floedl, A; Tomasello, M; (2015) Non-Egalitarian Allocations among Preschool Peers in a Face-to-Face Bargaining Task. PLOS ONE , 10 (3) , Article e0120494. 10.1371/journal.pone.0120494. Green open access

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Abstract

In face-to-face bargaining tasks human adults almost always agree on an equal split of resources. This is due to mutually recognized fairness and equality norms. Early developmental studies on sharing and equality norms found that egalitarian allocations of resources are not common before children are 5 or 6 years old. However, recent studies have shown that in some face-to face collaborative situations, or when recipients express their desires, children at much younger ages choose equal allocations. We investigated the ability of 3.5 and 5-year-olds to negotiate face-to-face, whether to collaborate to obtain an equal or an unequal distribution of rewards. We hypothesized that the face-to-face interaction and interdependency between partners would facilitate egalitarian outcomes at both ages. In the first experiment we found that 5-year-olds were more egalitarian than 3.5-year-olds, but neither of the age classes shared equally. In the second experiment, in which we increased the magnitude of the inequality, we found that children at both ages mostly agreed on the unequal distribution. These results show that communication and face-to-face interactions are not sufficient to guarantee equal allocations at 3–5 years of age. These results add to previous findings suggesting that in the context of non-collaboratively produced resources it is only after 5 years of age that children use equality norms to allocate resources.

Type: Article
Title: Non-Egalitarian Allocations among Preschool Peers in a Face-to-Face Bargaining Task
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120494
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0120494
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2015 Melis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Keywords: Children, Behavior, Age groups, Monte Carlo method, Prosocial behavior, Games, Mathematical models, Motivation
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10092976
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