Children’s fairness in two Chinese schools: A combined ethnographic and experimental study

Anni Kajanus, Katherine McAuliffe, Felix Warneken, Peter R. Blake

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    Recent research has shown that children's sense of fairness is shaped in part by cultural practices, values, and norms. However, the specific social factors that motivate children's fairness decisions remain poorly understood. The current study combined an ethnographic approach with experimental tests of fairness (the Inequity Game) in two Chinese schools with qualitatively different practices and norms. In the "University school," children received explicit moral instruction on fairness reinforced by adults when supervising children's activities. By contrast, in the "Community school," children received less formal moral education and little adult supervision during play time, but norms of cooperation and fairness emerged through informal interactions with peers and other members of the community. Contrary to our predictions, children in both schools (N = 66) rejected both disadvantageous and advantageous allocations of resources in the test trials. However, in the very first practice trials, children from the Community school tended to reject all inequalities, whereas children from the University school tended to accept inequalities. We draw on the ethnographies of the schools to interpret these results, concluding that, despite the similarities in the experimental results, different motivations and social factors likely underlie the rejection of inequality in the two schools. (C) 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    LanguageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
    Volume177
    Pages282-296
    Number of pages15
    ISSN0022-0965
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fields of Science

    • Fairness
    • Cultural comparisons
    • Ethnography
    • Social norms
    • China
    • Inequity Aversion
    • CROSS-CULTURAL-PERSPECTIVE
    • SOCIETIES
    • BEHAVIOR
    • SOCIALIZATION
    • COOPERATION
    • ATTITUDES
    • INEQUITY

    Cite this

    Kajanus, Anni ; McAuliffe, Katherine ; Warneken, Felix ; Blake, Peter R. / Children’s fairness in two Chinese schools: A combined ethnographic and experimental study. In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 2019 ; Vol. 177. pp. 282-296.
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    Children’s fairness in two Chinese schools: A combined ethnographic and experimental study. / Kajanus, Anni; McAuliffe, Katherine; Warneken, Felix; Blake, Peter R.

    In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Vol. 177, 01.2019, p. 282-296.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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