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The effects of intergroup competition on prosocial behaviors in young children: a comparison of 2.5-3.5 year-olds with 5.5-6.5 year-olds.

Zhu Y, Guan X, Li Y - Front Behav Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: We found that under the non-intergroup competition condition, as children aged, their behaviors tended to be more fairness-oriented (such as an increase in egalitarian behaviors).However, under the intergroup competition condition, children at 2.5-3.5 years of age tended to behave prosocially towards their ingroup members compared with those who are at 5.5-6.5 years of age.Taken together, these results point to the importance of considering the effects of competitive contexts on children's social behaviors and may have important implications for further research on the role of competitive contexts in the development of human prosocial behaviors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of International Business, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics Chengdu, China.

ABSTRACT
Group-based competition is considered to be a ubiquitous social context in human society. However, little is known about its potential effects on children's prosocial behaviors. To this end, we designed an experiment in which two age groups (2.5-3.5 years of age and 5.5-6.5 years of age) engaged in an intergroup competition task where they did a so-called "game" where each child transferred table tennis balls with a spoon from one container to the other. The non-intergroup competition condition was identical to the intergroup competition condition with one exception-no intergroup competition manipulation was involved. Then, they were required to perform two economic games used to measure their prosocial behaviors. We found that under the non-intergroup competition condition, as children aged, their behaviors tended to be more fairness-oriented (such as an increase in egalitarian behaviors). However, under the intergroup competition condition, children at 2.5-3.5 years of age tended to behave prosocially towards their ingroup members compared with those who are at 5.5-6.5 years of age. The behavioral pattern under the intergroup competition condition reflects strengthening prosocial tendencies driven by the intergroup competition in younger children and simultaneously weakening intergroup competition-driven prosocial tendencies possibly due to the development of fairness-oriented behaviors in older children. Taken together, these results point to the importance of considering the effects of competitive contexts on children's social behaviors and may have important implications for further research on the role of competitive contexts in the development of human prosocial behaviors.

No MeSH data available.


Economic games employed in the present study. Participants made choices in a sharing game and an envy game. Soft toys (Angry Bird) and flash water glitter balls (Happy Sheep) were used as distributional resources in these two games, respectively. Between-game differences in toys may help rule out satiation effects, and within-game homogeneity of toys may help control for individual differences in preferences for colors and styles which could potentially affect children’s decision-making behaviors.
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Figure 1: Economic games employed in the present study. Participants made choices in a sharing game and an envy game. Soft toys (Angry Bird) and flash water glitter balls (Happy Sheep) were used as distributional resources in these two games, respectively. Between-game differences in toys may help rule out satiation effects, and within-game homogeneity of toys may help control for individual differences in preferences for colors and styles which could potentially affect children’s decision-making behaviors.

Mentions: Specifically, following the intergroup competition task, each participant was led by a research assistant to a different quiet room to do these two economic games. In the sharing game (Figure 1), participants chose between (1, 1)—one piece of toy for self and the other for an in-group partner—and (2, 0)—two pieces of toys for self and none for an in-group partner. Since the former personal payoffs was less than the latter one in the sharing game, choosing (1, 1) indicated that participants’ behaviors were mainly driven by their egalitarian motives, while choosing (2, 0) indicated that their behaviors were mainly driven by their proself motives. In the envy game (Figure 1), they could choose between (1, 1)—one piece of toy for self and the other for an in-group partner—and (1, 2)—one piece of toy for self and 2 for an in-group partner. In this game, the personal payoffs of the two choices were identical, but the sum of such payoffs in the latter choice (3 pieces) was larger than that in the former one (2 pieces). As a result, choosing (1, 1) in this game indicated that their behaviors were mainly driven by either their egalitarian motives or by their aversion to disadvantageous inequality, while choosing (1, 2) indicated that their behaviors were mainly driven by either their social welfare concerns or altruistic motives.


The effects of intergroup competition on prosocial behaviors in young children: a comparison of 2.5-3.5 year-olds with 5.5-6.5 year-olds.

Zhu Y, Guan X, Li Y - Front Behav Neurosci (2015)

Economic games employed in the present study. Participants made choices in a sharing game and an envy game. Soft toys (Angry Bird) and flash water glitter balls (Happy Sheep) were used as distributional resources in these two games, respectively. Between-game differences in toys may help rule out satiation effects, and within-game homogeneity of toys may help control for individual differences in preferences for colors and styles which could potentially affect children’s decision-making behaviors.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4325911&req=5

Figure 1: Economic games employed in the present study. Participants made choices in a sharing game and an envy game. Soft toys (Angry Bird) and flash water glitter balls (Happy Sheep) were used as distributional resources in these two games, respectively. Between-game differences in toys may help rule out satiation effects, and within-game homogeneity of toys may help control for individual differences in preferences for colors and styles which could potentially affect children’s decision-making behaviors.
Mentions: Specifically, following the intergroup competition task, each participant was led by a research assistant to a different quiet room to do these two economic games. In the sharing game (Figure 1), participants chose between (1, 1)—one piece of toy for self and the other for an in-group partner—and (2, 0)—two pieces of toys for self and none for an in-group partner. Since the former personal payoffs was less than the latter one in the sharing game, choosing (1, 1) indicated that participants’ behaviors were mainly driven by their egalitarian motives, while choosing (2, 0) indicated that their behaviors were mainly driven by their proself motives. In the envy game (Figure 1), they could choose between (1, 1)—one piece of toy for self and the other for an in-group partner—and (1, 2)—one piece of toy for self and 2 for an in-group partner. In this game, the personal payoffs of the two choices were identical, but the sum of such payoffs in the latter choice (3 pieces) was larger than that in the former one (2 pieces). As a result, choosing (1, 1) in this game indicated that their behaviors were mainly driven by either their egalitarian motives or by their aversion to disadvantageous inequality, while choosing (1, 2) indicated that their behaviors were mainly driven by either their social welfare concerns or altruistic motives.

Bottom Line: We found that under the non-intergroup competition condition, as children aged, their behaviors tended to be more fairness-oriented (such as an increase in egalitarian behaviors).However, under the intergroup competition condition, children at 2.5-3.5 years of age tended to behave prosocially towards their ingroup members compared with those who are at 5.5-6.5 years of age.Taken together, these results point to the importance of considering the effects of competitive contexts on children's social behaviors and may have important implications for further research on the role of competitive contexts in the development of human prosocial behaviors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of International Business, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics Chengdu, China.

ABSTRACT
Group-based competition is considered to be a ubiquitous social context in human society. However, little is known about its potential effects on children's prosocial behaviors. To this end, we designed an experiment in which two age groups (2.5-3.5 years of age and 5.5-6.5 years of age) engaged in an intergroup competition task where they did a so-called "game" where each child transferred table tennis balls with a spoon from one container to the other. The non-intergroup competition condition was identical to the intergroup competition condition with one exception-no intergroup competition manipulation was involved. Then, they were required to perform two economic games used to measure their prosocial behaviors. We found that under the non-intergroup competition condition, as children aged, their behaviors tended to be more fairness-oriented (such as an increase in egalitarian behaviors). However, under the intergroup competition condition, children at 2.5-3.5 years of age tended to behave prosocially towards their ingroup members compared with those who are at 5.5-6.5 years of age. The behavioral pattern under the intergroup competition condition reflects strengthening prosocial tendencies driven by the intergroup competition in younger children and simultaneously weakening intergroup competition-driven prosocial tendencies possibly due to the development of fairness-oriented behaviors in older children. Taken together, these results point to the importance of considering the effects of competitive contexts on children's social behaviors and may have important implications for further research on the role of competitive contexts in the development of human prosocial behaviors.

No MeSH data available.