1. Jordan, J., McAuliffe, K., & Warneken, F. (2014). Development of in-group favoritism in children’s third-party punishment of selfishness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201402280.
2. Kanngiesser, P., & Warneken, F. (2012) Young children consider merit when sharing resources with others. PLoS ONE, 7(8), 1-5.
1. Jordan, McAuliffe, & Warneken (2014) PNAS
This video begins by using text and photographs to demonstrate the experimental set-up and stimuli. Then, it shows three video clips from the study. The first clip demonstrates how children were made aware of the group membership of each actor and recipient pair. The second clip shows an example of a child accepting a selfish allocation (thus enacting it). The final clip shows an example of a child paying a cost to reject a selfish allocation (punishment). The main result from this study is that children’s willingness to pay to punish selfish allocations was influenced by the group membership of the actors and recipients, but that this in-group bias in punishment declined partially between ages six and eight.
2. Kanngiesser & Warneken, (2012) PLoS ONE
What is a fair way to distribute goods? Should someone who worked more also receive more compensation?
In this study three- and five-year-old children played a fishing game with a puppet partner in which both partners collected coins (see clip 1). The coins could later be exchanged for stickers and children either contributed less or more coins than their partner. At the end of the game, the researchers asked children to divide the reward-stickers between themselves and their partner. Surprisingly, three-year-olds already shared the stickers according to their own and the partner’s contribution; that is, they kept more stickers to themselves when they had contributed more coins than their partner than when they had contributed less coins than their partner (see clips 2 & 3). While it was previously thought that sharing based upon merit requires complex reasoning or extensive socialization and does not emerge until school age, this new research shows that even young children do not only have their own self-interest at heart.
Clip 1. “Fishing Game”
Division of stickers when the child finds more coins than the puppet (child’s bag is on the right hand side)
Division of stickers when the puppet finds more coins than the child (child’s bag is on the right hand side)
3. Warneken (2013) Cognition
These videos show the experimental condition in which the experimenter is turned away from the child and drops a can on the floor without even noticing the accident. The main result of this study was that starting at two years of age, children engage in “proactive helping”: They can infer that help is needed based upon concurrent situational cues, without behavioral or communicative cues by the beneficiary. Therefore, from early on in development, children are willing and able to help without solicitation in situations in which they are just bystanders.
All video clips are copyright © Social Cognitive Development Group, Harvard University.
Please click here for video clips of the research conducted by Felix Warneken at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany.
All video clips are copyright © MPI EVA.