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Considering self or others across two cultural contexts: How children's resource allocation is affected by self-construal manipulations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-157
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Early online date3 May 2019
DateSubmitted - 4 Sep 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Feb 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 3 May 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Aug 2019


Most humans share to some degree. Yet, from middle childhood, sharing behavior varies substantially across societies. Here, for the first time, we explored the effect of self-construal manipulation on sharing decisions in 7- and 8-year-old children from two distinct societies: urban India and urban United Kingdom. Children participated in one of three conditions that focused attention on independence, interdependence, or a control. Sharing was then assessed across three resource allocation games. A focus on independence resulted in reduced generosity in both societies. However, an intriguing societal difference emerged following a focus on interdependence, where only Indian children from traditional extended families displayed greater generosity in one of the resource allocation games. Thus, a focus on independence can move children from diverse societies toward selfishness with relative ease, but a focus on interdependence is very limited in its effectiveness to promote generosity.

    Research areas

  • Generosity, Priming, Self-construal, Self-focus, Sharing development, Societal differences

    Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science
  • Developmental

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    Licence: CC BY


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