As children grow and develop, they are faced with an array of different social norms. The current study aimed to determine whether 4- to 8-year-old children (N = 249) from Scotland, UK would vary their donating behavior after first viewing a prosocial or an egalitarian sharing norm. Sharing norms were conveyed via a video demonstration in which a majority of child models (three from four) opted for either a reward of equal value for themselves and a receiver (egalitarian norm) or a reward of greater value for the receiver (prosocial norm). The results showed that viewing a prosocial, but not an egalitarian, norm led to a change in the participants donating behavior relative to a control group. However, the increase in prosocial donating elicited by the prosocial norm was relatively small, suggesting that the influence of the norm was somewhat constrained by a strong preference for egalitarianism. These results indicate that descriptive sharing norms are both socially learnt and flexibly employed, and that the influence of such norms may be limited by an aversion to disadvantageous inequity.
- Disadvantageous inequity
- Prosocial choice test
- Resource distribution
- Social norms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology