Children Endorse Fairness, but Don’t Like to Share

May 22nd, 2013

A new study coauthored by Boston University Assistant Professor of Psychology Peter Blake finds that young children endorse fairness norms related to sharing, but often act in contradiction to those norms when given a chance to share. The article, titled “I Should but I Won’t: Why Young Children Endorse Norms of Fair Sharing but Do Not Follow Them,” was published this week in the journal Plos ONE.

This phenomenon has rarely been explored in the context of a single study. Using a novel approach, the researchers presented clear evidence of this discrepancy and went on to examine possible explanations for its diminution with age. In one part of the study, 3- to 8-year-old children readily stated that they themselves should share equally, asserted that others should as well, and predicted that others had shared equally with them. Nevertheless, children failed to engage in equal sharing until ages 7–8.

Read the full story on the College of Arts & Sciences website.