Influences on the amount of the reward: How five-year-old children distribute rewards

Tsutsu, K.

The Japanese journal of psychology 81(3): 201-209


DOI: 10.4992/jjpsy.81.201
Accession: 068501832

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Five-year-old children were presented two stories in which each of two characters made different numbers of Origami stars; the total number of stars was 16 in one story and 12 in the other. The children allocated rewards to the characters and justified their allocations. There were three conditions in which the total number of rewards was equal to (Middle-N), less than (Small-N), or more than (Large-N) the total number of stars in each story. Most children allocated the rewards equally to the two characters in the Small-N condition, while almost half of the children did not employ an equal allocation in the Middle-N and Large-N conditions. This suggests that in the Small-N condition, if an equity-like allocation were employed, children would feel sorry for the character given very few rewards, and therefore they distributed the rewards equally. On the other hand, in the Middle-N and Large-N conditions, even when one character received fewer rewards than the other, the children did not feel that the fewer rewards were too few.