NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1117678
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Native Amazonian Children Forego Egalitarianism in Merit-Based Tasks When They Learn to Count
Jara-Ettinger, Julian; Gibson, Edward; Kidd, Celeste; Piantadosi, Steve
Developmental Science, v19 n6 p1104-1110 Nov 2016
Cooperation often results in a final material resource that must be shared, but deciding how to distribute that resource is not straightforward. A distribution could count as fair if all members receive an equal reward ("egalitarian distributions"), or if each member's reward is proportional to their merit ("merit-based distributions"). Here, we propose that the acquisition of numerical concepts influences how we reason about fairness. We explore this possibility in the Tsimane', a farming-foraging group who live in the Bolivian rainforest. The Tsimane' learn to count in the same way children from industrialized countries do, but at a delayed and more variable timeline, allowing us to de-confound number knowledge from age and years in school. We find that Tsimane' children who can count produce merit-based distributions, while children who cannot count produce both merit-based and egalitarian distributions. Our findings establish that the ability to count--a non-universal, language-dependent, cultural invention--can influence social cognition.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Bolivia
Grant or Contract Numbers: F32HD070544; 1022684