Kids don’t mind sharing after working together

February 13th, 2011 - 3:52 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 13 (IANS) Grown-ups have a sense of fair play, and now it seems that even young children do.

In a study, three-year-old kids shared with a peer the spoils after they worked together to earn a reward, even in situations where it would be easy for one child to keep all of them for himself.

The new study was inspired by work in chimpanzees that found their cooperation regularly breaks down, the journal Psychological Science reports.

“Chimpanzees often compete over food, which prevents them from working together on a task, even if that’s the only chance for them to get a reward,” says study co-author Felix Warneken of Harvard University, according to a Harvard University statement.

“So we were wondering if the same is true also in young children.” He carried out the study with Karoline Lohse of the University of Göttingen (Germany), and Alicia P. Melis and Michael Tomasello of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

Other research in humans has suggested that young children might not be very good at sharing.

Researchers had pairs of children complete a task in which they had to collaborate to get a prize.

The prize- gummy bears, stickers, or other items - were piled on a board with wheels inside a transparent box. If only one child pulled on a rope, the board wouldn’t move, but if they pulled it together, they could bring it towards them and reach the food or toys through windows in the transparent box.

Sometimes, there was only one window to reach through, sometimes there were two. But even when there was only one window, which meant that one child could have monopolized the prizes, the children mostly shared these equally.

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