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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, Vol. 51 Issue (5) : 584-597     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00584
Reports of Empirical Studies |
Children’s quality-based resource allocation in different involvement contexts: The role of in-group favoritism
LIU Lu,XIAO Xue,LIU Lisha,XU Liangyuan,ZHANG Xuran,LI Yanfang()
Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment toward Basic Education Quality, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
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Abstract  

Developing fairness is an important task of children's moral development. Equality, including numerical equality and quality equality, is one of the distributive justice principles. So far, most previous studies focus on the number-based resource allocation. However, children often allocate resources of different quality in daily life, and previous studies find that resource quality plays an important role in allocation. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the development of children’s quality-based resource allocation and the related factors. Moreover, according to the evidence from numerous researches about number-based resource allocation, children’s allocation can be shaped by in-group favoritism that children allocate more resources to in-group members. Hence, whether the quality-based resource allocation can be influenced by in-group favoritism is worthy of attention. In addition, different involvement contexts (the first-party and third-party contexts), whether involving individual self-interest or not, can influence children’s resource allocation. Given the above, this study focused on the role of in-group favoritism in children’s quality-based resource allocation in the first-party and third-party contexts, as well as its age and gender differences.
Two experiments were designed to understand above questions. Experiment 1 aimed to investigate children’s quality-based resource allocation in the first-party context. 61 children aged 5- to 6-year-old and 73 children aged 7- to 8-year-old were recruited and were asked to pick out two favorite objects (high-quality resources) and two objects enjoyed least (low-quality resources) from nine different objects. Then, we instructed the children to allocate any two of the four objects to themselves and the other two to either one out-group (strangers from other school) or in-group (good friends from the same class) member. Thus, two conditions including Out-group condition and In-group condition were generated. It was considered as quality equality only if each person received one high-quality resource and one low-quality resource. As for the quality-based equal distributive behavior, the result showed that there was no age difference, furthermore, there was no significant difference between In-group condition and Out-group condition for the two age groups. As for the children who allocated unequally, the results indicated that 5- to 6-year-olds were more likely to show altruistic distributive behavior in the In-group condition compared with Out-group condition, and showed more self-regarding distributive behavior in the Out-group condition than In-group condition. Furthermore, 5- to 6-year-old girls, rather than boys, were more likely to show altruistic distributive behavior in the In-group condition compared with Out-group condition.
Experiment 2 was conducted in the third-party context to explore children’s quality-based resource allocation in the context without self-interest involvement. 64 children aged 5- to 6-year-old and 66 children aged 7- to 8-year-old were recruited and asked to allocate any two of four objects to each of two members from either in-group or out-group, generating three conditions including Out-group/out-group condition, In-group/in-group condition and In-group/out-group condition. The results showed that, on average, compared with younger children, older children were more likely to allocate equally. Besides, both of the two age groups were less likely to allocate equally in the In-group/out-group condition than in the other two conditions, but 5- to 6-year-olds allocated less equally in the In-group/out-group condition than did 7- to 8-year-olds. Furthermore, for the younger children, girls rather than boys allocated less equally in the In-group/out-group condition than in the other two conditions. Comparing the results of different involvement contexts, we found that the proportion of 7- to 8-year-old children who allocated equally in the third-party context was significantly greater than that in the first-party context.
In sum, 7- to 8-year-old children’s quality-based resource allocation was more likely to be equal in the third-party context and showed less in-group favoritism in the two contexts than that of 5- to 6-year-old children. Furthermore, 5- to 6-year-old girls were more likely to be influenced by in-group favoritism. Besides, older children demonstrated higher level of equality in the third-party than in the first-party context. The implication of this study was that children’s quality-based resource allocation could be influenced by multiple competing motives including equality, in-group favoritism and self-interest.

Keywords resource quality      resource allocation      in-group favoritism      first-party      third-party     
ZTFLH:  B844  
Corresponding Authors: Yanfang LI     E-mail: liyanfang@bnu.edu.cn
Issue Date: 20 March 2019
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Lu LIU
Xue XIAO
Lisha LIU
Liangyuan XU
Xuran ZHANG
Yanfang LI
Cite this article:   
Lu LIU,Xue XIAO,Lisha LIU, et al. Children’s quality-based resource allocation in different involvement contexts: The role of in-group favoritism[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(5): 584-597.
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00584     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2019/V51/I5/584
  
  
分配行为类型 群体条件 5~6岁(N = 61) 7~8岁(N = 73)
男生(n = 30) 女生(n = 31) 男生(n = 40) 女生(n = 33)
公平 内群体 16 (53.33) 14 (45.16) 24 (60.00) 17 (51.52)
外群体 14 (46.67) 15 (48.39) 27 (67.50) 19 (57.58)
利他 内群体 7 (23.33) 11 (35.48) 13 (32.50) 14 (42.42)
外群体 2 (6.67) 3 (9.68) 9 (22.50) 12 (36.36)
利己 内群体 7 (23.33) 6 (19.35) 3 (7.50) 2 (6.06)
外群体 14 (46.67) 13 (41.94) 4 (10.00) 2 (6.06)
  
  
群体条件 5~6岁(N = 64) 7~8岁(N = 66)
男生(n = 29) 女生(n = 35) 男生(n = 33) 女生(n = 33)
外-外群体 14(48.28) 23(65.71) 28(84.85) 31(93.94)
内-内群体 15(51.72) 23(65.71) 26(78.79) 29(87.88)
内-外群体 10(34.48) 8(22.86) 18(54.55) 23(69.70)
  
  
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