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ERIC Number: EJ992330
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 94
ISSN: ISSN-0096-3445
Children Discard a Resource to Avoid Inequity
Shaw, Alex; Olson, Kristina R.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v141 n2 p382-395 May 2012
Elucidating how inequity aversion (a tendency to dislike and correct unequal outcomes) functions as one develops is important to understanding more complex fairness considerations in adulthood. Although previous research has demonstrated that adults and children reduce inequity, it is unclear if people are actually responding negatively to inequity or if people dislike others getting more than them (motivated by social comparison) and like to share maximal resources, especially with those who have few resources (motivated by social welfare preferences). In order to evaluate if children are truly averse to inequity, we had 3- to 8-year-old children distribute resources to 3rd parties and found that 6- to 8-year-old children would rather throw a resource in the trash than distribute unequally, suggesting that concerns with equity can trump concerns with maximal sharing. We also demonstrated that children's reactions were not based on wanting to avoid upsetting the recipients or based on a preference for visual symmetry and that children will even throw away a resource that could have gone to themselves in order to avoid inequity. These results demonstrate the existence of inequity aversion in children, provide a new method for studying inequity aversion specifically, and suggest the need for new models to explain why inequity aversion may have evolved. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa