Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:
Alex Shaw, Shoham Choshen-Hillel, and Eugene M. Caruso
It is traditionally believed that, as children age, they come to understand the unfairness of inequality and become less likely to endorse. The authors tested this idea in three studies, in which 4- to 6-year-olds, 7- to 8-year-olds, and the researchers determined how erasers would be distributed among group members. The children could endorse distributions of the erasers that were advantageous to them (inequality that created a self-advantage) or disadvantageous to them (inequality that created a self-disadvantage). Older children were more willing than younger children to distribute erasers in ways that were self-disadvantageous; however, both age groups rejected disadvantaged eraser distribution created by third parties (i.e., the researchers) at similar rates. This suggests that inequality aversion changes as children age and that aversion may depend on the type of inequality and the person creating it.
In divisive normalization, the intensity of a stimulus is normalized by dividing an individual stimulus’s value by the sum of the values of all the stimuli. The divisive normalization account suggests that choice preferences increase with the range of option values. The researcher examined divisive normalization for attractiveness ratings of faces. In an initial study phase (Phase 1), participants rated a series of faces for attractiveness. In a second phase (Phase 2) participants were shown two target images displayed with a distractor image. Target images were drawn from those that were rated as the most attractive in Phase 1, and distractor images were drawn from those rated as least attractive in Phase 1. The unattractiveness of the distractor was found to influence the preference for one target face over the other. The authors suggest that the distractor may have widened the attractiveness range of options, and normalization to this wider range helped differentiate the two attractive targets.