Children's Sharing Behavior in Mini-Dictator Games: The Role of In-Group Favoritism and Theory of Mind

Jing Yu, Liqi Zhu, Alan M. Leslie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated the motivational and social-cognitive foundations (i.e., inequality aversion, in-group bias, and theory of mind) that underlie the development of sharing behavior among 3- to 9-year-old Chinese children (N = 122). Each child played two mini-dictator games against an in-group member (friend) and an out-group member (stranger) to divide four stickers. Results indicated that there was a small to moderate age-related increase in children's egalitarian sharing with strangers, whereas the age effect was moderate to large in interactions with friends. Moreover, 3- to 4-year-olds did not treat strangers and friends differently, but 5- to 6-year-old and older children showed strong in-group favoritism. Finally, theory of mind was an essential prerequisite for children's sharing behavior toward strangers, but not a unique predictor of their sharing with friends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1747-1757
Number of pages11
JournalChild development
Volume87
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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