Better to be equal? Challenges to equality for cognitively able children with autism spectrum disorders in a social decision game

Schmitz, Eva A, Banerjee, Robin, Pouw, Lucinda B C, Stockmann, Lex and Rieffe, Carolien (2015) Better to be equal? Challenges to equality for cognitively able children with autism spectrum disorders in a social decision game. Autism, 19 (2). pp. 178-186. ISSN 1362-3613

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Abstract

Much controversy surrounds questions about whether humans have an aversion to inequity and how a commitment to equality might play a role in cooperation and other aspects of social interactions. Examining the social decisions of children with autism spectrum disorders provides a fascinating opportunity to explore these issues. Specifically, we evaluated the possibility that children with autism spectrum disorders may be less likely than typically developing children to show a prioritisation of equality. A total of 69 typically developing (mean age 11;6 years) and 57 cognitively able children with autism spectrum disorders (mean age 11;7 years) played a social decision game in which the equality option was pitted against alternatives that varied in instrumental outcomes. Results showed that both groups were more likely to choose the equality option when there was no cost to the self. However, even though children with autism spectrum disorders appeared to view equality as preferable to causing explicit harm to others, they departed from an equality stance when there was an opportunity to increase instrumental gain without any obvious harm to the self or the other. Typically developing children, in contrast, showed similar prioritisation of equality across these contexts. Future research needs to address the question of how differences in the commitment to equality affect children's social behaviour and relationships in daily life.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Lene Hyltoft
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2015 12:28
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 06:47
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/55890

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