The Development of Theory of Mind and Positive and Negative Reciprocity in Preschool Children

Joanna Schug, Coll William & Mary, Dept Psychol, Williamsburg, VA 23185 USA
Catalina Benech, Coll William & Mary, Dept Psychol, Williamsburg, VA 23185 USA
Haruto Takagishi
Hiroyuki Okada

Abstract

This study examined the relation between the acquisition of false-beliefs theory of mind (ToM) and reciprocity in preschoolers. Preschool-aged children completed a task assessing the understanding of false beliefs, and played an Ultimatum Game (UG) with another child in a face-to-face setting. Negative reciprocity was assessed by examining the rejection of unfair offers made by another child in the UG, while positive reciprocity was assessed by examining allocations made by participants in a Dictator Game (DG) following the UG. The results indicated that children who had passed a task assessing first-order false beliefs were more likely to make generous offers in a DG following a fair offer made by their partner in a proceeding UG, but that false beliefs ToM was unrelated to the rejection of unfair offers in the UG.