Theoretical background- The sensitivity to fairness is an important dimension of moral development. It represents one of the factors implied in the proclivity to share human resources and it is connected with the concepts of reciprocity and justice. It has been often operationalized as iniquity aversion and investigated by decision-making studies in adults through interactive games. Recently, developmental researchers have adopted the same paradigms, in particular the Ultimatum Game in different experimental conditions (at different stages of development; with human/non human partners; with various informational situations; in connection with social norms). They have observed that children often struggle with self-oriented vs other-oriented preferences along their path of moral development. Objective- We present and discuss an overview of a series of studies about the development of the sensitivity to fairness, investigated through bargaining games such as the Ultimatum Game. Critical discussion and conclusions-The main findings show that the sensitivity to fairness blooms early during childhood and takes the form of strong “inequality aversion”, with the baseline for fairness shifting from an egocentric perspective to an equal perspective. The understanding of social norm of fairness, instead, seems more difficult during childhood. Moreover, fairness sensitivity develops along with other relevant psychological abilities that undergo changes during childhood as well, namely Theory of Mind or Mentalization, which constitutes an useful tool for the management of social exchanges.
- equità, sviluppo morale, decisione