Evaluations versus expectations: Children's divergent beliefs about resource distribution

Jasmine M. Dejesus, Marjorie Rhodes, Katherine D. Kinzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Past research reveals a tension between children's preferences for egalitarianism and ingroup favoritism when distributing resources to others. Here we investigate how children's evaluations and expectations of others' behaviors compare. Four- to 10-year-old children viewed events where individuals from two different groups distributed resources to their own group, to the other group, or equally across groups. Groups were described within a context of intergroup competition over scarce resources. In the Evaluation condition, children were asked to evaluate which resource distribution actions were nicer. In the Expectation condition, children were asked to predict which events were more likely to occur. With age, children's evaluations and expectations of others' actions diverged: Children evaluated egalitarian actions as nicer yet expected others to behave in ways that benefit their own group. Thus, children's evaluations about the way human social actors should behave do not mirror their expectations concerning those individuals' actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-193
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive Science
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Cognitive development
  • Egalitarianism
  • Intergroup behavior
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence

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