The effect of creative labor on property-ownership transfer by preschool children and adults

P Kanngiesser, NL Gjersoe, BM Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recognizing property ownership is of critical importance in social interactions, but little is known about how and when this attribute emerges. We investigated whether preschool children and adults believe that ownership of one person’s property is transferred to a second person following the second person’s investment of creative labor in that property. In our study, an experimenter and a participant borrowed modeling-clay objects from each other to mold into new objects. Participants were more likely to transfer ownership to the second individual after he or she invested creative labor in the object than after any other manipulations (holding the object, making small changes to it). This effect was significantly stronger in preschool children than in adults. Duration of manipulation had no effect on property-ownership transfer. Changes in the object’s identity acted only as a secondary cue for children. We conclude that ownership is transferred after an investment of creative labor and that determining property ownership may be an intuitive process that emerges in early childhood.
Translated title of the contributionThe effect of creative labor on property-ownership transfer by preschool children and adults
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1236 - 1241
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Volume21
Issue number9
Early online date16 Aug 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010

Structured keywords

  • Developmental

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of creative labor on property-ownership transfer by preschool children and adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this