Do infants have a sense of fairness?

Stephanie Sloane, Renée Baillargeon, David Premack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Two experiments examined infants' expectations about how an experimenter should distribute resources and rewards to other individuals. In Experiment 1, 19-month-olds expected an experimenter to divide two items equally, as opposed to unequally, between two individuals. The infants held no particular expectation when the individuals were replaced with inanimate objects, or when the experimenter simply removed covers in front of the individuals to reveal the items (instead of distributing them). In Experiment 2, 21-month-olds expected an experimenter to give a reward to each of two individuals when both had worked to complete an assigned chore, but not when one of the individuals had done all the work while the other played. The infants held this expectation only when the experimenter could determine through visual inspection who had worked and who had not. Together, these results provide converging evidence that infants in the 2nd year of life already possess context-sensitive expectations relevant to fairness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-204
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Science
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Keywords

  • infant development
  • morality
  • social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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