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Wonderfest: The Sense of Fairness in Chimps and Children

Jan Englemann

What underlies our sense of fairness? Chimpanzees react negatively to allocations of resources in which they receive less than others. Human children (from around 8 years onward) react similarly, and they react negatively to allocations in which they receive more than others. New evidence suggests that aversion to unequal distribution of resources has a somewhat different origin in chimps and children. Such aversion in chimpanzees seems to stem from social expectations rather than fairness concerns. Human children's sense of fairness is essentially a judgment about the social meaning of the distributive act. Children respond to unequal distributions not based on material dissatisfaction, but on interpersonal dissatisfaction: children see each other as equally deserving of respect.

Speaker: Jan Engelmann, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, 09/26/23


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Hopmonk Tavern

Session Room
224 Vintage Way
Novato, CA 94945

Website: Click to Visit