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Media opportunity: Dalhousie research shows children are concerned with fairness, but may favour their in‑group peers over apparent need when it comes to sharing
Studies have shown that children are concerned with fairness and will gladly share their belongings, but research out of Dalhousie University suggests they may be more inclined to share with peers they perceive to be part of their social group.
In a new paper in Social Development, researchers examined the decisions children make about sharing their resources, using stickers in this case. They were interested in exploring children’s tendency to share differently depending on whether the potential recipient was a member of the same or a different group and whether that recipient was rich or poor in stickers.
The children, age five and six, were randomly assigned to groups differentiated only by the colour of their team. The same exercises were done with boys and girls in Halifax, N.S, and the other study site, Tehran, Iran, to compare the responses of children growing up in different cultures. The researchers found the children in both cities tended to show in-group favouritism by sharing more stickers with members of their group and did not seem to differentiate based on need.
Dr. Chris Moore, a professor in Dal’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, co-authored the study and is available to discuss how the decisions made by children in two different cultures appear to be more influenced by their affiliation with a group than on a recipient’s need.
Senior Research Reporter
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