Remember, how everyone eyed the last piece of fries on the plate. Or how reluctant we often are about sharing our gadgets, our clothes and even meals. And yet, children often find it easier to share. Is sharing a part of our natural mould or does it need to be taught and learnt?
A study conducted by neuroscientist Ernst Fehr at the University of Zurich examined a particular type of unselfishness known as inequality aversion. Being averse to inequality means sharing some part of your possessions with others in order to decrease the inequality between yourself and them. For instance, a teacher gives two treats to one kid and none to the other. The first kid gives one of his treats to the second kid, displaying the characteristic of being inequality averse. It establishes that given a chance, children like to share. The findings of this study also pointed that older children were more likely to share.
Another study, published in Psychological Science, suggests that young kids in a group have a tendency to cooperate. A total of 112 children were selected for an experiment in which they had to work in teams to get rewards. So only through cooperation were they able to get the prizes. And since each team member contributed equally, it induced a sense of fairness to share the rewards equally.
To answer the question posed in the beginning, it can be said that sharing comes naturally to people when it follows cooperation. Even though economists have said many times in the past that humans have a self-serving nature, researchers have discovered that people also have a tendency to care for each other. Also, the habit of sharing is something that needs to be cultivated from an early age. It helps children make new friends at various stages of their lives.
Teaching kids the importance of sharing can be a tricky task though. However, children quite easily emulate what they see around themselves. Hence it always helps to set a positive example for children. Another impactful way is to praise and reward children when they share. It is important to talk to them about the benefits of sharing. Children also like to share when they see other children doing the same.
Keep watching this space to discover how McDonald’s is sharing happiness on this Children’s Day.