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Social, Behavioral & Experimental Economics (SBEE): The Role of Social Interdependence in Children's Cooperative Decision-Making

Sebastian Grueneisen, University of Michigan
Monday, October 15, 2018
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
3100 (Ehrlicher Room) North Quad Map

Cooperation enables people to reach outcomes that no individual could achieve alone. However, cooperation is inherently risky since by participating we make ourselves dependent on the cooperative acts of others which may or may not occur. The last decades have seen a surge of investigations into the psychological mechanisms that help people overcome these risks. A central proposition that has arisen from this research is that social interdependence may be an important evolutionary and proximate source of expectations and motivations that contribute to human cooperative success (Robert, 2005; Tomasello et al., 2012; Sterelny, 2012). In this talk, I will present research that addresses this issue from a developmental perspective by examining the role of social interdependence in children’s cooperative decision making. The results suggest that by at least age 7 children hold the expectation that interactions marked by social interdependence will be mutually beneficial which enables them coordinate their decisions with one another even without communicating. A second study with German and Kenyan 5- to 6-year-olds using a cooperative version of the famous marshmallow task indicates that social interdependence facilitates children’s motivation to invest effort in cooperative activities. Together, these findings provide developmental and cross-cultural evidence for the importance of social interdependence in shaping human cooperative psychology.
Building: North Quad
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: Economics, seminar
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Social, Behavioral, and Experimental Economics (SBEE), Department of Economics, Department of Economics Seminars