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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.


The effects of intergroup competition on behavioral types. The black solid lines denote the percentage of each of three behavioral types under the intergroup competition condition, while the gray dashed lines denote the percentage of each of these behavioral types under the non-intergroup competition condition. Under the intergroup competition condition, the percentage of egalitarians in children at 2.5–3.5 years of age is similar to that in children at 5.5–6.5 years of age, while under the non-intergroup competition condition, the percentage of egalitarians increases with age. It is obvious that the percentage of altruists is higher in younger children than in older children under the intergroup and non-intergroup competition conditions. The percentage of proselfs is significantly lower in younger children than in older children under the intergroup competition condition, but these behavioral type decreases with age under the non-intergroup competition condition.
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Figure 3: The effects of intergroup competition on behavioral types. The black solid lines denote the percentage of each of three behavioral types under the intergroup competition condition, while the gray dashed lines denote the percentage of each of these behavioral types under the non-intergroup competition condition. Under the intergroup competition condition, the percentage of egalitarians in children at 2.5–3.5 years of age is similar to that in children at 5.5–6.5 years of age, while under the non-intergroup competition condition, the percentage of egalitarians increases with age. It is obvious that the percentage of altruists is higher in younger children than in older children under the intergroup and non-intergroup competition conditions. The percentage of proselfs is significantly lower in younger children than in older children under the intergroup competition condition, but these behavioral type decreases with age under the non-intergroup competition condition.

Mentions: If we took a between-game perspective, our participants’ behaviors could be classified into three different behavioral types (egalitarian, altruist, and proself) based on motives underlying their decisions in these two games, as described in previous studies (Fehr et al., 2008; Bauer et al., 2014a). Under the intergroup competition condition, the percentage of these three behavioral types across both groups was presented in Figure 3. Children who chose (1, 1) in both sharing and envy games were defined as egalitarians. Our analysis on this behavioral type showed that the percentage of egalitarians in children at 2.5–3.5 years of age (43%) was similar to that in children at 5.5–6.5 years of age (42%) (Fisher’s exact test, p = 0.90, n = 250). In contrast, with respect to altruists (those who chose (1, 1) in the sharing game and (1, 2) in the envy game), we found that there were more altruists in children at 2.5–3.5 years of age (39%) than in children at 5.5–6.5 years of age (27%) after experiencing intergroup competition (Fisher’s exact test, p < 0.05, n = 250). Finally, there were less proselfs (those who chose (2, 0) in the sharing game and (1, 1) in the envy game) in children at 2.5–3.5 years of age (8%) than in children at 5.5–6.5 years of age (25%) (Fisher’s exact test, p < 0.001, n = 250) (Figure 3). In addition, neither the winning and losing outcomes nor the gender had pronounced effects on these three behavioral types.


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)

The effects of intergroup competition on behavioral types. The black solid lines denote the percentage of each of three behavioral types under the intergroup competition condition, while the gray dashed lines denote the percentage of each of these behavioral types under the non-intergroup competition condition. Under the intergroup competition condition, the percentage of egalitarians in children at 2.5–3.5 years of age is similar to that in children at 5.5–6.5 years of age, while under the non-intergroup competition condition, the percentage of egalitarians increases with age. It is obvious that the percentage of altruists is higher in younger children than in older children under the intergroup and non-intergroup competition conditions. The percentage of proselfs is significantly lower in younger children than in older children under the intergroup competition condition, but these behavioral type decreases with age under the non-intergroup competition condition.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 3: The effects of intergroup competition on behavioral types. The black solid lines denote the percentage of each of three behavioral types under the intergroup competition condition, while the gray dashed lines denote the percentage of each of these behavioral types under the non-intergroup competition condition. Under the intergroup competition condition, the percentage of egalitarians in children at 2.5–3.5 years of age is similar to that in children at 5.5–6.5 years of age, while under the non-intergroup competition condition, the percentage of egalitarians increases with age. It is obvious that the percentage of altruists is higher in younger children than in older children under the intergroup and non-intergroup competition conditions. The percentage of proselfs is significantly lower in younger children than in older children under the intergroup competition condition, but these behavioral type decreases with age under the non-intergroup competition condition.
Mentions: If we took a between-game perspective, our participants’ behaviors could be classified into three different behavioral types (egalitarian, altruist, and proself) based on motives underlying their decisions in these two games, as described in previous studies (Fehr et al., 2008; Bauer et al., 2014a). Under the intergroup competition condition, the percentage of these three behavioral types across both groups was presented in Figure 3. Children who chose (1, 1) in both sharing and envy games were defined as egalitarians. Our analysis on this behavioral type showed that the percentage of egalitarians in children at 2.5–3.5 years of age (43%) was similar to that in children at 5.5–6.5 years of age (42%) (Fisher’s exact test, p = 0.90, n = 250). In contrast, with respect to altruists (those who chose (1, 1) in the sharing game and (1, 2) in the envy game), we found that there were more altruists in children at 2.5–3.5 years of age (39%) than in children at 5.5–6.5 years of age (27%) after experiencing intergroup competition (Fisher’s exact test, p < 0.05, n = 250). Finally, there were less proselfs (those who chose (2, 0) in the sharing game and (1, 1) in the envy game) in children at 2.5–3.5 years of age (8%) than in children at 5.5–6.5 years of age (25%) (Fisher’s exact test, p < 0.001, n = 250) (Figure 3). In addition, neither the winning and losing outcomes nor the gender had pronounced effects on these three behavioral types.

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.