Playing by the rules: self-interest information influences children's trust and trustworthiness in the absence of feedback.

Academic Article


  • This study documented how children's decisions to trust and help partners in a game depend on the game's incentives. Adults, 5-, 7-, and 9-year-olds (N=128) guessed the location of hidden prizes, assisted by a partner who observed the hiding. After each hiding event the partner shared information with participants about the prize's location. Participants earned prizes every time they guessed correctly. The partner earned prizes either from participants' correct (cooperation incentive) or incorrect (competition incentive) guesses. Children and adults trusted their partner more often when the game incentivized cooperation versus competition. A complementary pattern was observed when participants assisted their partner find prizes they observed being hidden: Participants strategically shared truthful information more often when the game rewarded cooperation.
  • Authors

  • Reyes-Jaquez, Bolivar (Boli)
  • Echols, Catharine H
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • January 2015
  • Published In

  • Cognition  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Cooperation
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Deception
  • Decision-making
  • Feedback, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inferential reasoning
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Reward
  • Social Perception
  • Thinking
  • Trust
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 25460387
  • Start Page

  • 140
  • End Page

  • 154
  • Volume

  • 134