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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Performed the experiments: KL. Wrote the paper: KL. Adults frequently employ reputation-enhancing strategies when engaging in prosocial acts, behaving more generously when their actions are likely to be witnessed by others and even more so when the extent of their generosity is made public. This study examined the developmental origins of sensitivity to cues associated with reputationally motivated prosociality by presenting five-year-olds with the option to provide one or four stickers to a familiar peer recipient at no cost to themselves.
Children were consistently generous only when the recipient was fully aware of the donation options; in all cases in which the recipient was not Generous 27 yr old of the donation options, children were Generous 27 yr old ungenerous. These findings suggest that long before they develop a rich understanding of the social ificance of reputation or are conscious of complex strategic reasoning, children behave more generously when the details of their prosocial actions are available to others. Human adults are unique in that they perform what appears to be an inordinate amount of generous behavior  —  ; even more remarkably, empirical evidence indicates that hints of these prosocial tendencies are present even early in development.
Research shows that infants as young as eight months of age willingly share toys with family members, peers, and complete strangers  — .
At 14 months of age, children will help an adult experimenter complete a goal  and will even take a cost to help others by the time they are 20 months of age . Finally, between the ages of two and four, children begin to share resources with others voluntarily even when those resources are easily monopolizable  — . Why do children show prosocial behavior from such an early age? To date, prosocial behavior in children has primarily been explained Generous 27 yr old terms of intrinsic motivations such as empathy, other-regarding preferences, or a desire for fair outcomes e.
Other psychologists have suggested that prosocial behavior in infants and young children may also be driven by other motivations, such as wanting to prove oneself to be a useful and cooperative in-group member—i. While a good deal of research has been done to investigate the role of intrinsic motivations on prosocial behavior in children, much less has been done to address the latter- what role, if any, do self-presentational motivations play in encouraging prosocial actions in young children?
To answer this question, it may be helpful to look at the factors associated with self-presentational motivations and prosocial behavior in adults in an effort to track the developmental trajectory of these tendencies. This is reputation in its most basic instantiation, and research suggests that even young infants respond differently to agents who have good and bad reputations Generous 27 yr old — .
Although they may not be aware of it, adults appear to be selective about the situations in which they choose to act prosocially. Specifically, adults often maximize their performance of generous acts in situations in which there is an audience present to witness their actions  — . Merely exposing people to eyespots or other subtle audience cues can increase prosociality in adults  —  but see also  — even though people may not consciously realize their behavior is being influenced by these cues.
The tendency to act more prosocially in the presence of subtle environmental cues that could possibly be perceived as an audience suggests that our reputational motivations may draw on the simplest and most evolutionarily old of cognitive mechanisms . Indeed, these sorts of audience-dependent changes in behavior have been observed in other less cognitively-sophisticated species ranging from cleaner wrasses Labroides dimidiatus  to brown capuchin monkeys Generous 27 yr old apella .
For example, consider a case in which a man is deciding how much to give to charity in the presence of an Generous 27 yr old that will not know any details about the amount of money given. While the presence of audience cues would likely prompt him to make a donation, his reputation would not be further enhanced by performing an exceedingly generous action because the audience members would not know the full extent of his generosity. What is needed to maximize the impact of his generosity is Generous 27 yr old presence of a second set of reputationally relevant cues—which we will refer to as transparency cues— als that indicate that people know which kind of action has occurred.
As with audience cues, there is much work suggesting that adults are more generous when the specifics of their generosity are made available to others . For example, Andreoni and Petrie found a strong positive relationship between the amount of information made public about donor activity and the amount of money that was actually donated . Specifically, when the recipient of a donation is unaware of the details surrounding a possible act of generosity, people tend to act in ways that best serve their personal interest rather than that of the recipient.
As in the case of audience cues, it is not clear that people are consciously thinking about reputation and intentionally changing their level of generosity in the face of transparency cues. Instead, people likely respond to transparency cues implicitly, using cognitive mechanisms developed over evolutionary time for the purpose of maximizing reputation. Although there is reason to suspect that audience cues are conceptually distinct from transparency cues, both types of cues are often inextricably linked in real world situations.
However, it should be noted that the two sets of cues are in no way mutually exclusive.
As noted above, people are sensitive to audience cues eyespots in the absence of any true agents gathering information . Additionally, even in the absence of any audience cues when making a decision in a room by oneself people are sensitive to whether other agents will Generous 27 yr old able to discover an ungenerous act . Given that adults clearly modify their behavior in response to both audience and transparency cues, is it possible that young children do the same? For example, around age three, children begin to engage in deceptive behavior e. By the time children reach the age of five, they are able to understand the ways in which second-hand information like gossip can influence reputation .
Indeed, it is not until eight years of age that children begin to fully understand that other people may have self-presentational motives that affect the way they behave in the presence of others . Overall, this pattern suggests that young children are sensitive to the opinions of others and modify their behavior accordingly long before they begin to grasp the concept of active reputation-management.
We did this by independently manipulating the visibility of the recipient varying whether the recipient was occluded by a large opaque screen and the transparency of the allocations to the recipient presenting the allocations in either opaque containers or transparent containers. We chose to test five-year-olds because research has shown that children at Generous 27 yr old age can successfully represent the goals and beliefs of others for review see  and thus we knew that children of this age could understand what the recipient knew about different kinds of actions.
We tested pairs of children who were classmates and, thus, likely to interact with one another in the future. Given the notion that reputational motivations are strongly influenced by the likelihood for future reciprocation or punishment, pairing children with possible future collaborators was the truest way to test for such reputational concerns. Overall, the logic behind the current study is as follows: if, in fact, prosocial behavior in children is largely intrinsically motivated, our subjects should act generously, regardless of if the recipient is aware of their actions.
Specifically, if children are sensitive to audience cues, then five year-olds should act more generously on the allocation task when the recipient is visible than when the recipient is not. Additionally, if children are sensitive to the transparency of their actions when making prosocial decisions, then they should behave more generously when allocations are presented in Generous 27 yr old containers than when they are presented in opaque containers.
The treatment of participants in studies described in this paper was in accordance with the ethical standards of the American Psychological Association. We divided our participants into two separate roles: actors who determined the allocations distributed and recipients who simply received the chosen allocations. During the course of the experiment, the actor made all decisions regarding allocations, while the recipient merely watched and collected whatever resources the actor gave to her. Each child participated in only one session and the children never switched roles i. Interaction between the participants was limited as they were instructed not to talk to one another.
All children were paired with individuals from the same classroom and, therefore, were familiar with one another prior to testing. We constructed a testing apparatus that allowed the actor to choose between two allocation distributions; each distribution included an allocation for the actor and an allocation for the recipient see Figure 1. During test sessions, the apparatus was situated on a table between the actor and the recipient. The apparatus had two bars on its front that corresponded to the two distributions that sat in wells on the top of the apparatus.
The actor always sat on the side with the bars while the recipient sat on the other side of the apparatus, directly across from the actor. By pulling the bar on her left, the actor could simultaneously distribute the left-side allocation distribution to herself and the recipient, with each child receiving the allocation directly in front of her.
Conversely by pulling the bar on the right, the actor could deliver the right-side distribution. After allocations were delivered, both children placed Generous 27 yr old allocations, with assistance from the experimenters, in separate opaque cloth bags before the beginning Generous 27 yr old the next trial.
The actor was able to pull one of the two bars in order to deliver the allocations displayed on the top of the apparatus. Trial pictured is in the visible condition with opaque containers. Overall, children seemed to find the apparatus quite intuitive and learned how to operate it almost immediately upon interacting with it.
Testing commenced once both participants demonstrated an understanding of the outcomes associated with both sides of the apparatus; the training usually lasted about five minutes. Allocations were distributed inside of plastic containers that were either opaque plastic or transparent plastic.
When the containers were opaque, the allocations inside could not be seen, but when the containers were transparent the contents were visible. Children received different s of small stickers either one sticker or four stickers as allocations, and were told that each sticker was worth a point that they could cash in at the end of the test for a final grand prize.
The grand prize for all participants was a large sticker of their choice; this served to eliminate possible social repercussions associated with one child getting an obviously superior prize than the other once they returned to class.
Each test session consisted of 16 trials. Two experimenters ran each session. The first experimenter presented the allocation options to the actor while the second experimenter sat next to the recipient and ensured that she paid attention throughout the session. During each trial, the first experimenter presented each container individually by showing the actor the contents and then allowing her to track the placement of the container in one of the four wells on top of the apparatus.
The experimenter presented opaque containers in such a way that the actor, but not the recipient, could see the contents. The order in which the containers were presented was randomized. Once all the containers were in place, the actor had a chance to pull one of the two bars in order to deliver either the left or right distribution. As soon as the actor committed to a distribution and pulled a bar, the experimenter removed the remaining two containers to eliminate additional pulling.
Subjects were ased to one of six different counterbalanced distribution orders. Research shows that young Generous 27 yr old often tend to act in ways that Generous 27 yr old their own self-interest when presented with sharing tasks in which they stand to gain from not acting prosocially .
While the allocation options for the actor were kept constant within trials, the allocation options for the recipient were varied.
Each trial consisted of one of four different conditions, with each kind of trial presented four times during the test session twice in opaque containers and twice in transparent containers. For example, if the actor Generous 27 yr old a distribution in which she got one sticker and the recipient got four stickers, this will be represented as 1,4.
Second, both children were asked to place their allocations into separate, opaque cloth bags after each trial to minimize distractions and also to reduce the ability of the recipient to directly compare her own allocation to the one received by the actor. At the end of the test session, children were taken to opposite ends of the testing room with different experimenters to count their stickers. Taken together, these precautions reduced extraneous social factors that may have caused the actor to behave in a more prosocial manner for reasons other than those for which we were testing.
Finally, to examine the influence of audience cues on allocation decisions, we varied the visibility of the recipient between subjects. Half of our actors were tested in a visible condition, in which the actor and recipient were able to maintain visual contact throughout the test session.Generous 27 yr old
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