The development of social value orientation across different contexts

Jing Li, Liqi Zhu, Michaela Gummerum, Yuli Sun
Published Online:
03 May 2012
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 48 Issue 4

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This study aimed to explore Chinese children's social value orientation across different ages and contexts. Revised decomposed games were used to measure the social value orientation of 9‐, 11‐, and 14‐year‐old children and college students as an adult group. About half of them were assigned to the hypothetical context of “equal payment group,” providing equal compensation for participation in the study, and the others to the “real payment group,” who got payment according to their own choices in the games. Results showed that 9‐ and 11‐year‐old children's choices differed between the two contexts: They made more prosocial choices in the hypothetical context, and more competitive choices in the “real payment” context. The 14‐year‐olds’ and adults’ choices were not significantly different in the two contexts. These results may imply that by 14 years of age, children have stable social value orientation, and their behavior reflects this value.

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