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Children's respect for ownership across diverse societies.

Authors
  • Kanngiesser, Patricia1
  • Rossano, Federico2
  • Zeidler, Henriette3
  • Haun, Daniel4
  • Tomasello, Michael5
  • 1 Faculty of Education and Psychology.
  • 2 Department of Cognitive Science, University of California San Diego.
  • 3 Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
  • 4 Faculty of Education, Leipzig University.
  • 5 Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Developmental psychology
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2019
Volume
55
Issue
11
Pages
2286–2298
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1037/dev0000787
PMID: 31380659
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Ownership is a cornerstone of many human societies and can be understood as a cooperative arrangement, where individuals refrain from taking each other's property. Owners can thus trust others to respect their property even in their absence. We investigated this principle in 5- to 7-year-olds (N = 152) from 4 diverse societies. Children participated in a resource task with a peer-partner, where we established ownership by assigning children to one side or the other of an apparatus and by marking resources with colors to help children keep track of them. When retrieving resources in the partner's presence, the majority of children took their own things and respected what belonged to their partner. A proportion of children in all societies also respected ownership in their partner's absence, although the strength of respect varied considerably across societies. We discuss implications for the development of ownership concepts and possible explanations for societal differences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

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