The Influence of Reputation Concerns and Social Biases on Children’s Sharing Behavior


The present research builds on prior work on the social-contextual nature of children’s generosity by systematically examining both observer effects and whether the recipient is an in-group or out-group member. Although previous research has examined these factors independently, no study to date has examined them in conjunction. We also extend prior research by including both measures of sharing behavior and children’s evaluations of sharing scenarios, and by investigating a larger sample (N=164) with a broader age range than is typical of prior research (5- to 9-year-olds). We found that, across the entire age range tested, children were generous when observed and gave more to in-group members than out-group members, and that there was no interaction between these effects. We also found that children’s own sharing behavior predicted their evaluations of sharing scenarios, with children rating in-group sharing as "nicer" than out-group sharing.

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