ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2018, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (9): 1018-1028.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01018

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇

学龄前儿童分配模式的传递效应:心理理论和共情的作用 *

谢东杰, 路浩, 苏彦捷()   

  1. 北京大学心理与认知科学学院和行为与心理健康北京市重点实验室, 北京 100871
  • 收稿日期:2017-11-22 出版日期:2018-09-15 发布日期:2018-07-27
  • 基金资助:

Pay-forward effect of resource allocation in preschoolers: Role of theory of mind and empathy

XIE Dongjie, LU Hao, SU Yanjie()   

  1. School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences and Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2017-11-22 Online:2018-09-15 Published:2018-07-27


当他人对个体进行资源上的自私、公平或慷慨分配后, 个体倾向于以同样的分配方式对待第三个无关个体, 这一现象为资源分配模式的传递效应。研究考察自我绝对利益受到影响时这一效应在学龄前儿童中的表现以及其中可能的社会认知机制。118名4~6岁儿童被随机分到实验条件或对照条件中。实验条件下被试与匿名同伴合作完成拼图游戏后得到同伴分配的1个(自私)、3个(公平)或5个(慷慨)代币(共6个), 之后再作为分配者与另一匿名接受者完成同样的游戏; 而对照条件下被试只扮演分配者完成拼图和分配游戏。结果发现, 公平条件下公平分配比例与对照条件之间不存在显著差异, 而自私条件下自私分配模式比例和慷慨条件下慷慨分配模式比例分别高于对照条件下相应比例; 在慷慨条件下传递者比非传递者拥有更强的二级心理理论与(认知)共情能力。这提示学龄前儿童会传递自私和慷慨分配模式, 心理理论和共情更强的学龄前儿童更有可能传递慷慨分配模式。

关键词: 资源分配, 传递效应, 心理理论, 共情, 广义互惠


Previous studies found that children would reciprocate those having benefited them previously, a behavior termed direct reciprocity. When there was no opportunity to reciprocate, the recipient would pay it forward to a third one. The current study aimed to find whether preschoolers would pay it forward if their absolute gains would be dependent on their allocations and its potential socio-cognitive mechanisms. We hypothesized that preschoolers would pay forward others’ selfish, fair or generous allocations, but this tendency would be stronger in the selfish and fair conditions; theory of mind (ToM) as well as empathy would play a role in it.
Children aged 4 to 6 (N = 118, 63 females; Mage = 64.25 months, SD = 6.76) were randomly assigned into 3 experimental groups and 1 control group. In the experimental groups, each child was firstly asked to help an anonymous partner complete a jigsaw game (the child and the partner were to make equal contributions in the game), and then was allocated a reward of 1 token (selfish), 3 tokens (fair) or 5 tokens (generous) as the partner proposed (allocating a total of 6 tokens); subsequently, each participant completed another jigsaw game with another anonymous recipient, to whom the participant then acted as an allocator. In contrast, participants in the control group only completed the resource allocation task once as an allocator after cooperating with an anonymous partner in the jigsaw game. Participants’ abilities of ToM were measured with first-order and second-order ToM tasks. Their abilities of empathy were assessed with the Griffith Empathy Measurement (GEM), filled by their teacher-in-charge.
We found that preschoolers would pay the selfish allocations forward, and even generous ones in spite that their absolute self-interests were dependent on their decisions. Specifically, compared with children in the control group, children in the selfish or generous groups were more likely to propose a similar pattern of allocation for the anonymous recipient, which indicated that others’ patterns of allocation exerted influence on children’s decisions. In contrast, there was no significant difference between the proportion of fair allocations in the control group (80%) and the fair group (80%). Moreover, children in the generous-allocation group who paid it forward had higher levels of second-order ToM and (cognitive) empathy than those who did not do so. However, there were no such differences between these two types of participants in the selfish-allocation and fair-allocation groups.
It was suggested that preschoolers were sensitive to the patterns of allocations made by others, and they would pay it forward whether the allocations were advantageous or disadvantageous to themselves. Socio-cognitive abilities (e.g., ToM, empathy) could be important explanatory factors for this pay-forward effect. Besides, preschoolers in a collaborative context were more likely to comply with the norm of equity. Future studies might test other moderators, such as group membership of the partner, the way children acquire the resources, and explore other explanatory factors like executive functions.

Key words: resource allocation, pay-forward effect, theory of mind, empathy, generalized reciprocity.