Three-year-olds divide collaboratively earned resources equally, suggesting that fairness concerns emerge much earlier in ontogeny than previously believed (Hamann al., 2011; Warneken et al., 2011). The aim of this dissertation was to understand the psychological mechanisms underlying children’s precocious egalitarian sharing of collaboratively earned resources. Study 1 provided evidence that collaboration results in a strong sense of fairness, not observed under individual work conditions. Furthermore, the findings support the view that this sense of fairness is driven by equity over generous or prosocial motives. Study 2 showed that collaboration produced an overall increase in sharing, but that increased equitable sharing was only found when children shared the resources they had earned through collaboration. Study 3 found that children considered equity to be fair from a third party evaluation regardless of how others earned resources (i.e., collaboratively, individually). However, they showed a greater motivation to intervene against normative violations when resources were earned collaboratively. This convergent evidence suggests that collaboration is indeed a special context for the development of fairness.
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Thesis advisor: Broesch, Tanya
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