Journal Article Expectations about recipients' prosociality and mental time travel relate to resource allocation in preschoolers.

Kumaki, Yuto  ,  Moriguchi, Yusuke  ,  Myowa-Yamakoshi, Masako

167pp.278 - 294 , 2018-03-01 , Elsevier BV
Previous studies have revealed that preschoolers selectively allocate their resources based on their social relationship with recipients such as friendship. In this investigation, we investigated how expectations about recipients’ prosociality and the ability of future thinking relate to the selective allocation of resources. In Study 1, participants aged 3.5–6 years chose how to allocate resources from two ways (selfish allocation, where only the participants could receive stickers, and equal allocation, where the participants and recipients receive get the same number of stickers) in costly and non-costly situations with three recipients (friend, peer, and stranger). Participants were asked to state which alternatives the recipients would choose if they were given a choice. The results showed that children aged 5 and 6 years tended to choose equal allocation of resources when they expected the recipients to do the same both in costly and non-costly situations. This tendency was not observed in children aged 3.5 and 4 years. In Study 2, the relationships between selectivity in non-costly allocation and two facets of future thinking (delay of gratification and mental time travel) were investigated in children aged 5 and 6 years. The results suggested that children with a higher mental time travel ability tended to be more selective in allocating resources based on social relationships; they tended to allocate more resources to the friend and fewer to the peer. Our findings suggest that expectations about a recipient’s prosociality and the ability of mental time travel affect selectivity of resource allocation in children aged 5 and 6 years.

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