Young children understand and defend the entitlements of others.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Human social life is structured by social norms creating both obligations and entitlements. Recent research has found that young children enforce simple obligations against norm violators by protesting. It is not known, however, whether they understand entitlements in the sense that they will actively object to a second party attempting to interfere in something that a third party is entitled to do-what we call counter-protest. In two studies, we found that 3-year-old children understand when a person is entitled to do something, and so they actively defend this person's entitlement against unjustified interference from second parties. In some cases, they even enforce second-order entitlements, for example, in the case of ownership where an owner is entitled to entitle others to use the owner's property.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Schmidt, MFH; Rakoczy, H; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • December 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 116 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 930 - 944

PubMed ID

  • 24094684

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-0457

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0965

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jecp.2013.06.013


  • eng