Einladung zum Kolloquium

Dear all,

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Sebastian Grüneisen (Leipzig University) will give a talk at CogSci Colloquium on Thursday, February 8th.

Title: When cooperative motives lead to uncooperative behavior: The role of reciprocity in eliciting norm violations in young children

Abstract: Reciprocity, the exchange of favors over time, is a central pillar of human cooperation. Yet, reciprocal motives can also lead to ethically questionable behaviors (e.g., when politicians return favors to campaign donors at the expense of their constituents). Young children reciprocate prosocial acts from early on and even view doing so as obligatory. Whether reciprocity also elicits norm violations in young children is unclear. In this talk, I will discuss recent research investigating the developmental origins of reciprocity and its prosocial as well as its deceitful expressions. In a series of behavioral experiments, young children interacted with social partners who either did or did not intentionally benefit them at a personal cost. In subsequent interactions, children from around age 5 to 6 reliably responded by acting prosocially in return. Yet, we also found that children tended to cheat in favor of their benefactors (even though they condemned such cheating in others) and were more likely to turn a blind eye to their benefactor’s transgressions compared to the transgressions committed by others (even though, from an observer perspective, they disapproved of rules being enforced unequally). The findings demonstrate that young children are sometimes willing to flout rules they otherwise approve of in favor of reciprocating prosocial acts. They further suggest that cooperative motives can also be implicated in the erosion of norms.

Time: 12:15 pm (Thursday, Feb.8th )
Venue : room 2.111 Waldweg 26

If you are interested in meeting with him to discuss your own or his research, please let me know until Monday (Feb. 5) by sending an e-mail  to (saba.amirhaftehran@uni-goettingen.de).

Best regards
Saba Amirhaftehran
PhD student
Department of Cognitive Developmental Psychology