Egalitarian behavior is considered to be a species-typical component of human cooperation. Human adults tend to share resources equally, even if they have the opportunity to keep a larger portion for themselves. Recent experiments have suggested that this tendency emerges fairly late in human ontogeny, not before 6 or 7 years of age. Here we show that 3-year-old children share mostly equally with a peer after they have worked together actively to obtain rewards in a collaboration task, even when those rewards could easily be monopolized. These findings contrast with previous findings from a similar experiment with chimpanzees, who tended to monopolize resources whenever they could. The potentially species-unique tendency of humans to share equally emerges early in ontogeny, perhaps originating in collaborative interactions among peers.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Sharing the spoils develops early in humans.
From Tomasello and collaborators: