Description: From their earliest social interactions children are quick to indicate whether they think their interactions are fair or not. The developmental question of when the children start to use the term fair in a mature manner has been studied a lot. However, to think the findings of such studies might very by culture? That’s what this article looked at.
Source: Cultural Differences Determine When Kids Learn to Play Fair: Children in many – but not all – societies reject unfair deals by the age of eight, Chris Cesare, nature.com.
Date: November 18, 2015
Photo Credit: nature.com
Video Link: https://youtu.be/3dIpUm_96vo
The study discussed in this article looked at children in seven cultures and specifically looked at the age at which children started to reject unfair deals and to see if children from all cultures were equally likely to reject deals that were unfair themselves or for the other person with whom they were playing. The study found that by eight years of age most children start to reject deals that provide the other person with an unfair advantage but also found that children in the United States, Canada, and Uganda also rejected deals that were unfair but in their own favour. The study raises the question of whether many developmental observations might need to be re-examined when we note that much of that research has been conducted in what are referred to as “WEIRD” countries – that is, countries that are Western, educated, industrialized, rich antidemocratic. Universality claims about things like fairness and ages it would it emerges amongst children might need to be looked at a little more closely.
Questions for Discussion:
- What do you think of the methodology used by the researchers in this study, as shown in the video available on the article website? Is it a good assessment of fairness?
- What were the cultural differences in children’s application of the concept of fairness in this study?
- What sorts of cultural issues might be behind the differences in the fairness related behaviour observed in this study?
References (Read Further):
Blake, P. R. et al. Nature http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature15703 (2015)