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Five-year-olds understand fair as equal in a mini-ultimatum game.
J Exp Child Psychol. 2013 Oct; 116(2):324-37.JE

Abstract

In studies of children's resource distribution, it is almost always the case that "fair" means an equal amount for all. In the mini-ultimatum game, players are confronted with situations in which fair does not always mean equal, and so the recipient of an offer needs to take into account the alternatives the proposer had available to her or him. Because of its forced-choice design, the mini-ultimatum game measures sensitivity to unfair intentions in addition to unfair outcomes. In the current study, we gave a mini-ultimatum game to 5-year-old children, allowing us to determine the nature of fairness sensitivity at a period after false belief awareness is typically passed and before formal schooling begins. The only situation in which responders rejected offers was when the proposer could have made an equal offer. But unlike adults, they did not employ more sophisticated notions of fairness that take into account the choices facing the proposer. Proposers, in their turn, were also not adult-like in that they had a very poor understanding that responders would reject unequal offers when an equal one was available. Thus, preschool children seem to understand "fair=equal" in this task, but not much more, and they are not yet skillful at anticipating what others will find fair beyond 50/50 splits.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

23917161

Citation

Wittig, Martina, et al. "Five-year-olds Understand Fair as Equal in a Mini-ultimatum Game." Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 116, no. 2, 2013, pp. 324-37.
Wittig M, Jensen K, Tomasello M. Five-year-olds understand fair as equal in a mini-ultimatum game. J Exp Child Psychol. 2013;116(2):324-37.
Wittig, M., Jensen, K., & Tomasello, M. (2013). Five-year-olds understand fair as equal in a mini-ultimatum game. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116(2), 324-37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2013.06.004
Wittig M, Jensen K, Tomasello M. Five-year-olds Understand Fair as Equal in a Mini-ultimatum Game. J Exp Child Psychol. 2013;116(2):324-37. PubMed PMID: 23917161.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Five-year-olds understand fair as equal in a mini-ultimatum game. AU - Wittig,Martina, AU - Jensen,Keith, AU - Tomasello,Michael, Y1 - 2013/08/03/ PY - 2012/02/14/received PY - 2013/06/06/revised PY - 2013/06/12/accepted PY - 2013/8/7/entrez PY - 2013/8/7/pubmed PY - 2014/4/26/medline KW - Fairness KW - Inequity aversion KW - Moral development KW - Norms KW - Punishment KW - Sharing KW - Social decision making KW - Ultimatum game SP - 324 EP - 37 JF - Journal of experimental child psychology JO - J Exp Child Psychol VL - 116 IS - 2 N2 - In studies of children's resource distribution, it is almost always the case that "fair" means an equal amount for all. In the mini-ultimatum game, players are confronted with situations in which fair does not always mean equal, and so the recipient of an offer needs to take into account the alternatives the proposer had available to her or him. Because of its forced-choice design, the mini-ultimatum game measures sensitivity to unfair intentions in addition to unfair outcomes. In the current study, we gave a mini-ultimatum game to 5-year-old children, allowing us to determine the nature of fairness sensitivity at a period after false belief awareness is typically passed and before formal schooling begins. The only situation in which responders rejected offers was when the proposer could have made an equal offer. But unlike adults, they did not employ more sophisticated notions of fairness that take into account the choices facing the proposer. Proposers, in their turn, were also not adult-like in that they had a very poor understanding that responders would reject unequal offers when an equal one was available. Thus, preschool children seem to understand "fair=equal" in this task, but not much more, and they are not yet skillful at anticipating what others will find fair beyond 50/50 splits. SN - 1096-0457 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/23917161/Five_year_olds_understand_fair_as_equal_in_a_mini_ultimatum_game_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0022-0965(13)00126-4 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -