Young children display an increase in prosocial donating in response to an upwards shift in generosity by a same-aged peer

Emily J E Messer, Vanessa Burgess, Michael Sinclair, Sarah Grant, Danielle Spencer, Nicola McGuigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Adult humans frequently engage in the reciprocal exchange of resources with other individuals. However, despite the important role that reciprocity plays in maintaining co-operative exchange we know relatively little of when, and how, reciprocity develops. We first asked whether pairs of young children (M = 74 months) would engage in direct reciprocity in a 'prosocial choice test' where a donor could select either a higher, or a lower, value reward (1v 2) for a partner at no cost to themselves (1v 1). In a subsequent retest we asked, for the first time, whether young children increase their level of prosocial donating in response to an upwards shift in generosity from an initially selfish partner. In order to determine whether interacting with another child was fundamental to the development of reciprocity we included a novel yoked non-agent condition. The results suggest that the children were engaging in a calculated form of reciprocity where the prior behavior of their child partner influenced their subsequent level of donation days after the initial exchange. Crucially we show that the children were not influenced by the value of the rewards received per se, rather selection by a human agent was key to reciprocity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2633
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017

Fingerprint

child
reciprocity
Reward
reward
human being
Child Behavior
Costs and Cost Analysis
donation
cooperative
novel
selection
adult
costs
resources
behavior
test
individual
development
resource
cost

Cite this

Messer, E. J. E., Burgess, V., Sinclair, M., Grant, S., Spencer, D., & McGuigan, N. (2017). Young children display an increase in prosocial donating in response to an upwards shift in generosity by a same-aged peer. Scientific Reports, 7, [2633]. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-02858-y

Messer, Emily J E; Burgess, Vanessa; Sinclair, Michael; Grant, Sarah; Spencer, Danielle; McGuigan, Nicola / Young children display an increase in prosocial donating in response to an upwards shift in generosity by a same-aged peer.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, 2633, 01.06.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{4e28ac61bf464a0cbc49734bacc17e9c,
title = "Young children display an increase in prosocial donating in response to an upwards shift in generosity by a same-aged peer",
abstract = "Adult humans frequently engage in the reciprocal exchange of resources with other individuals. However, despite the important role that reciprocity plays in maintaining co-operative exchange we know relatively little of when, and how, reciprocity develops. We first asked whether pairs of young children (M = 74 months) would engage in direct reciprocity in a 'prosocial choice test' where a donor could select either a higher, or a lower, value reward (1v 2) for a partner at no cost to themselves (1v 1). In a subsequent retest we asked, for the first time, whether young children increase their level of prosocial donating in response to an upwards shift in generosity from an initially selfish partner. In order to determine whether interacting with another child was fundamental to the development of reciprocity we included a novel yoked non-agent condition. The results suggest that the children were engaging in a calculated form of reciprocity where the prior behavior of their child partner influenced their subsequent level of donation days after the initial exchange. Crucially we show that the children were not influenced by the value of the rewards received per se, rather selection by a human agent was key to reciprocity.",
author = "Messer, {Emily J E} and Vanessa Burgess and Michael Sinclair and Sarah Grant and Danielle Spencer and Nicola McGuigan",
year = "2017",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1038/s41598-017-02858-y",
volume = "7",
journal = "Scientific Reports",
issn = "2045-2322",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",

}

Young children display an increase in prosocial donating in response to an upwards shift in generosity by a same-aged peer. / Messer, Emily J E; Burgess, Vanessa; Sinclair, Michael; Grant, Sarah; Spencer, Danielle; McGuigan, Nicola.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, 2633, 01.06.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Young children display an increase in prosocial donating in response to an upwards shift in generosity by a same-aged peer

AU - Messer,Emily J E

AU - Burgess,Vanessa

AU - Sinclair,Michael

AU - Grant,Sarah

AU - Spencer,Danielle

AU - McGuigan,Nicola

PY - 2017/6/1

Y1 - 2017/6/1

N2 - Adult humans frequently engage in the reciprocal exchange of resources with other individuals. However, despite the important role that reciprocity plays in maintaining co-operative exchange we know relatively little of when, and how, reciprocity develops. We first asked whether pairs of young children (M = 74 months) would engage in direct reciprocity in a 'prosocial choice test' where a donor could select either a higher, or a lower, value reward (1v 2) for a partner at no cost to themselves (1v 1). In a subsequent retest we asked, for the first time, whether young children increase their level of prosocial donating in response to an upwards shift in generosity from an initially selfish partner. In order to determine whether interacting with another child was fundamental to the development of reciprocity we included a novel yoked non-agent condition. The results suggest that the children were engaging in a calculated form of reciprocity where the prior behavior of their child partner influenced their subsequent level of donation days after the initial exchange. Crucially we show that the children were not influenced by the value of the rewards received per se, rather selection by a human agent was key to reciprocity.

AB - Adult humans frequently engage in the reciprocal exchange of resources with other individuals. However, despite the important role that reciprocity plays in maintaining co-operative exchange we know relatively little of when, and how, reciprocity develops. We first asked whether pairs of young children (M = 74 months) would engage in direct reciprocity in a 'prosocial choice test' where a donor could select either a higher, or a lower, value reward (1v 2) for a partner at no cost to themselves (1v 1). In a subsequent retest we asked, for the first time, whether young children increase their level of prosocial donating in response to an upwards shift in generosity from an initially selfish partner. In order to determine whether interacting with another child was fundamental to the development of reciprocity we included a novel yoked non-agent condition. The results suggest that the children were engaging in a calculated form of reciprocity where the prior behavior of their child partner influenced their subsequent level of donation days after the initial exchange. Crucially we show that the children were not influenced by the value of the rewards received per se, rather selection by a human agent was key to reciprocity.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85020228448&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/s41598-017-02858-y

DO - 10.1038/s41598-017-02858-y

M3 - Article

VL - 7

JO - Scientific Reports

T2 - Scientific Reports

JF - Scientific Reports

SN - 2045-2322

M1 - 2633

ER -

Messer EJE, Burgess V, Sinclair M, Grant S, Spencer D, McGuigan N. Young children display an increase in prosocial donating in response to an upwards shift in generosity by a same-aged peer. Scientific Reports. 2017 Jun 1;7. 2633. Available from, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-02858-y