Young children share the spoils after collaboration

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Egalitarian behavior is considered to be a species-typical component of human cooperation. Human adults tend to share resources equally, even if they have the opportunity to keep a larger portion for themselves. Recent experiments have suggested that this tendency emerges fairly late in human ontogeny, not before 6 or 7 years of age. Here we show that 3-year-old children share mostly equally with a peer after they have worked together actively to obtain rewards in a collaboration task, even when those rewards could easily be monopolized. These findings contrast with previous findings from a similar experiment with chimpanzees, who tended to monopolize resources whenever they could. The potentially species-unique tendency of humans to share equally emerges early in ontogeny, perhaps originating in collaborative interactions among peers. © The Author(s) 2011.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Warneken, F; Lohse, K; Melis, AP; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • January 1, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 267 - 273

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-9280

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0956-7976

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0956797610395392

Citation Source

  • Scopus