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Why do children punish? Fair outcomes matter more than intent in children's second- and third-party punishment.
J Exp Child Psychol. 2020 12; 200:104909.JE

Abstract

Humans punish fairness violations both as victims and as impartial third parties, which can maintain cooperative behavior. However, it is unknown whether similar motivations underlie punishment of unfairness in these two contexts. Here we approached this question by focusing on how both types of punishment develop in children, asking the question: What motivates young children to punish in response to fairness norm violations? We explored two potential factors: the direct experience of unfair outcomes and a partner's fair versus unfair intentions. The participants, 5- and 7-year-olds, were given the chance to engage in both second- and third-party punishment in response to either intended or unintended fairness norm violations in a single paradigm. In both age-groups, children were more likely to punish when they were directly affected by the allocation (second-party punishment) than when they were an uninvolved third party (third-party punishment). Reliable third-party punishment was shown only in the older age-group. Moreover, children's punishment was driven by outcome rather than intent, with equal rates of punishment when unequal outcomes were either the result of chance or the intentional act of another child. These findings suggest that younger children may be mainly motivated to create equal outcomes between themselves and others, whereas older children are motivated to enforce fairness norms as a general principle.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 01238, USA. Electronic address: rbernhard@fas.harvard.edu.Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 01238, USA.Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 01238, USA.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

32866656

Citation

Bernhard, Regan M., et al. "Why Do Children Punish? Fair Outcomes Matter More Than Intent in Children's Second- and Third-party Punishment." Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 200, 2020, p. 104909.
Bernhard RM, Martin JW, Warneken F. Why do children punish? Fair outcomes matter more than intent in children's second- and third-party punishment. J Exp Child Psychol. 2020;200:104909.
Bernhard, R. M., Martin, J. W., & Warneken, F. (2020). Why do children punish? Fair outcomes matter more than intent in children's second- and third-party punishment. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 200, 104909. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2020.104909
Bernhard RM, Martin JW, Warneken F. Why Do Children Punish? Fair Outcomes Matter More Than Intent in Children's Second- and Third-party Punishment. J Exp Child Psychol. 2020;200:104909. PubMed PMID: 32866656.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Why do children punish? Fair outcomes matter more than intent in children's second- and third-party punishment. AU - Bernhard,Regan M, AU - Martin,Justin W, AU - Warneken,Felix, Y1 - 2020/08/28/ PY - 2019/09/18/received PY - 2020/01/13/revised PY - 2020/05/13/accepted PY - 2020/9/1/pubmed PY - 2021/6/30/medline PY - 2020/9/1/entrez KW - Development KW - Fairness KW - Inequity KW - Intention KW - Second-party punishment KW - Third-party punishment SP - 104909 EP - 104909 JF - Journal of experimental child psychology JO - J Exp Child Psychol VL - 200 N2 - Humans punish fairness violations both as victims and as impartial third parties, which can maintain cooperative behavior. However, it is unknown whether similar motivations underlie punishment of unfairness in these two contexts. Here we approached this question by focusing on how both types of punishment develop in children, asking the question: What motivates young children to punish in response to fairness norm violations? We explored two potential factors: the direct experience of unfair outcomes and a partner's fair versus unfair intentions. The participants, 5- and 7-year-olds, were given the chance to engage in both second- and third-party punishment in response to either intended or unintended fairness norm violations in a single paradigm. In both age-groups, children were more likely to punish when they were directly affected by the allocation (second-party punishment) than when they were an uninvolved third party (third-party punishment). Reliable third-party punishment was shown only in the older age-group. Moreover, children's punishment was driven by outcome rather than intent, with equal rates of punishment when unequal outcomes were either the result of chance or the intentional act of another child. These findings suggest that younger children may be mainly motivated to create equal outcomes between themselves and others, whereas older children are motivated to enforce fairness norms as a general principle. SN - 1096-0457 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/32866656/Why_do_children_punish_Fair_outcomes_matter_more_than_intent_in_children's_second__and_third_party_punishment_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -