Kids Like Hanging Out With Peers Who Have A Good ‘Reputation’, Study

Kids Like Hanging Out With Peers Who Have A Good 'Reputation', Study

Featured Research
August 12, 2013

Kindergarten kids are more likely to be kind to peers after observing them interacting with other children in positive ways, according to a new study.

AsianScientist (Aug. 12, 2013) – Five-to-six-year old kids are more likely to be kind to peers after observing them interacting with other children in positive ways, according to a new study.

Kenji Onishi and colleagues from Osaka University, Japan observed kindergarteners’ day-to-day behavior and found that bystanders in a playground were more likely to offer an object or help a child whom they had seen being helpful to another child.

The results, published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, suggest that children establish a sense of their peers’ ‘reputation’ early in life. Children were more likely to behave in pro-social ways when they observed their peers doing so, the researchers found. Observing another child’s pro-social behavior also evoked positive emotions towards that child in bystanders.

“Social indirect reciprocity seems to be crucial in enabling large-scale cooperative networks among genetically unrelated individuals in humans,” the authors write.

Cooperating with someone based on their reputation, or observations of their behavior with other people, is crucial to the success of cooperative societies, the authors explain. Though being ‘nice’ isn’t always reciprocated by the recipient, it increases an individual’s chances of being helped by others in the network, they say.

The article can be found at: Kato-Shimizu M et al. (2013) Preschool Children’s Behavioral Tendency toward Social Indirect Reciprocity.

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Source: PLOS; Photo: OMP Production/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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