David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
PLoS ONE 6 (10):e23223 (2011)
Human cooperation is a key driving force behind the evolutionary success of our hominin lineage. At the proximate level, biologists and social scientists have identified other-regarding preferences – such as fairness based on egalitarian motives, and altruism – as likely candidates for fostering large-scale cooperation. A critical question concerns the ontogenetic origins of these constituents of cooperative behavior, as well as whether they emerge independently or in an interrelated fashion. The answer to this question will shed light on the interdisciplinary debate regarding the significance of such preferences for explaining how humans become such cooperative beings. We investigated 15-month-old infants' sensitivity to fairness, and their altruistic behavior, assessed via infants' reactions to a third-party resource distribution task, and via a sharing task. Our results challenge current models of the development of fairness and altruism in two ways. First, in contrast to past work suggesting that fairness and altruism may not emerge until early to mid-childhood, 15-month-old infants are sensitive to fairness and can engage in altruistic sharing. Second, infants' degree of sensitivity to fairness as a third-party observer was related to whether they shared toys altruistically or selfishly, indicating that moral evaluations and prosocial behavior are heavily interconnected from early in development. Our results present the first evidence that the roots of a basic sense of fairness and altruism can be found in infancy, and that these other-regarding preferences develop in a parallel and interwoven fashion. These findings support arguments for an evolutionary basis – most likely in dialectical manner including both biological and cultural mechanisms – of human egalitarianism given the rapidly developing nature of other-regarding preferences and their role in the evolution of human-specific forms of cooperation. Future work of this kind will help determine to what extent uniquely human sociality and morality depend on other-regarding preferences emerging early in life.
|Keywords||fairness infants altruism social norms cooperation social cognition|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Marco Fh Schmidt, Hannes Rakoczy & Michael Tomasello (2012). Young Children Enforce Social Norms Selectively Depending on the Violator's Group Affiliation. Cognition 124 (3):325-333.
Mark Sheskin, Paul Bloom & Karen Wynn (2014). Anti-Equality: Social Comparison in Young Children. Cognition 130 (2):152-156.
Marek Meristo & Luca Surian (2013). Do Infants Detect Indirect Reciprocity? Cognition 129 (1):102-113.
Katherine McAuliffe, Jillian J. Jordan & Felix Warneken (2015). Costly Third-Party Punishment in Young Children. Cognition 134:1-10.
Nicolas Baumard & Pascal Boyer (2013). Explaining Moral Religions. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17 (6):272-280.
Similar books and articles
Jay Elliott (2011). Stag Hunts and Committee Work: Cooperation and the Mutualistic Paradigm. [REVIEW] Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):245-260.
Elizabeth Spelke (2005). Chronometric Studies of Numerical Cognition in Five-Month-Old Infants. Cognition 97 (1):23-39.
K. G. Binmore (2005). Natural Justice. Oxford University Press.
Christine Clavien & Rebekka A. Klein (2010). Eager for Fairness or for Revenge? Psychological Altruism in Economics. Economics and Philosophy 26 (3):267-290.
Justin N. Wood & Elizabeth S. Spelke (2005). Chronometric Studies of Numerical Cognition in Five-Month-Old Infants. Cognition 97 (1):23-39.
Paul Seabright (2006). The Evolution of Fairness Norms: An Essay on Ken Binmore's Natural Justice. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 5 (1):33-50.
Colin Allen & Marc Bekoff (2005). Animal Play and the Evolution of Morality: An Ethological Approach. Topoi 24 (2):125-135.
Susan C. Johnson, Carol S. Dweck, Frances S. Chen, Hilarie L. Stern, Su-Jeong Ok & Maria Barth (2010). At the Intersection of Social and Cognitive Development: Internal Working Models of Attachment in Infancy. Cognitive Science 34 (5):807-825.
Margery Lucas & Laura Wagner (2005). Born Selfish? Rationality, Altruism, and the Initial State. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (6):829-830.
Marco F. H. Schmidt & Michael Tomasello (2012). Young Children Enforce Social Norms. Current Directions in Psychological Science 21 (4):232-236.
Added to index2011-11-19
Total downloads9 ( #359,175 of 1,799,482 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #466,493 of 1,799,482 )
How can I increase my downloads?