Considering self or others across two cultural contexts: How children's resource allocation is affected by self-construal manipulations

Sandra Weltzien*, Lauren Marsh, Patricia Kanngiesser, Bobby Stuijfzand, Bruce Hood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

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Abstract

Most humans share to some degree. Yet, from middle childhood, sharing behavior varies substantially across societies. Here, for the first time, we explored the effect of self-construal manipulation on sharing decisions in 7- and 8-year-old children from two distinct societies: urban India and urban United Kingdom. Children participated in one of three conditions that focused attention on independence, interdependence, or a control. Sharing was then assessed across three resource allocation games. A focus on independence resulted in reduced generosity in both societies. However, an intriguing societal difference emerged following a focus on interdependence, where only Indian children from traditional extended families displayed greater generosity in one of the resource allocation games. Thus, a focus on independence can move children from diverse societies toward selfishness with relative ease, but a focus on interdependence is very limited in its effectiveness to promote generosity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-157
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume184
Early online date3 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

Structured keywords

  • Developmental
  • Cognitive Science

Keywords

  • Generosity
  • Priming
  • Self-construal
  • Self-focus
  • Sharing development
  • Societal differences

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