The acquisition of socio-moral norms that govern one’s own and others’ behavior is fundamental to social harmony and cohesion. In this project, we investigate the developmental emergence of fairness concerns (that, all other things considered, goods should be distributed equally to recipients), and their relation to a. children's altruistic behavior and, b. individual differences in parental empathy. Specific activities of the project include a series of innovative, multi-method experiments to investigate 1) developmental changes in children's fairness concerns and altruistic behavior, 2) the role of participation in cultural activities, particularly sharing interactions, in such developmental changes, and, 3) the role of individual differences in parental empathy in the emergence of children’s fairness concerns and altruistic behavior. The outputs to be generated by this project include peer-reviewed articles, conference presentations, and public forums (e.g., newsletters, and presentations). The aim of this project is provide new information regarding the relation between the virtues of altruism and empathy and infants' and children's moral responses, and to resolve debates regarding the nature of moral concerns in childhood, and their developmental origins. This work will also yield practical information regarding the development of socio-moral concerns and altruistic behavior that can be utilized by parents, educators and policy makers. The potential enduring impacts of this project include a novel theoretical model of the development of moral intuitions, to account for both the early emergence of, and the role of socialization in, the acquisition of socio-moral norms, new information regarding the hypothesized link between altruism and fairness concerns, and empathy and fairness concerns, as well as the creation of cutting-edge methods that future researchers can use to investigate altruism and socio-moral development in infants and young children.
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