Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2015 Jun 29;6:895.
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00895. eCollection 2015.

The Development of the Effect of Peer Monitoring on Generosity Differs Among Elementary School-Age Boys and Girls

Free PMC article

The Development of the Effect of Peer Monitoring on Generosity Differs Among Elementary School-Age Boys and Girls

Haruto Takagishi et al. Front Psychol. .
Free PMC article


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of peer monitoring on generosity in boys and girls aged 6-12 years. A total of 120 elementary school students played a one-shot dictator game (DG) with and without peer monitoring by classmates. Children decided how to divide 10 chocolates between themselves and a classmate either in a condition in which their allocations were visible to their peers, or in private. While the effect of peer monitoring on the allocation amount in the DG was clearly present in boys, it was not observed in girls. Furthermore, the effect of peer monitoring in boys appeared at the age of 9 years. These results suggest that the motivation to draw peers' attention plays a stronger role for older boys than for girls or younger boys. The potential roles of higher-order theory of mind, social roles, and emergence of secondary sex characteristics on the influence of peer monitoring on generosity shown by boys are discussed.

Keywords: children; economic game; generosity; observer effects; sex difference.


Photograph of the top of a desk in the private condition (left, box with lid for the recipients’ chocolates; center, envelope for the child’s own chocolates and image of classmates; right, 10 chocolates).
Photograph of the experimental environment in the private condition. In the public condition, the vertical plastic boards and the lids of the boxes were removed.
Mean level of dictator’s offer in each condition. All children (A), boys (B), and girls (C). Error bars indicate standard error of the mean.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 6 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Alexander R. D. (1987). The Biology of Moral Systems. New York, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.
    1. Amodio D. M., Frith C. D. (2006). Meeting of minds: the medial frontal cortex and social cognition. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 7, 268–277. 10.1038/nrn1884 - DOI - PubMed
    1. Bateson M., Nettle D., Roberts G. (2006). Cues of being watched enhance cooperation in a real-world setting. Biol. Lett. 2, 412–414. 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0509 - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Bénabou R. J. M., Tirole J. (2006). Incentives and prosocial behavior. Am. Econ. Rev. 96, 1652–1678. 10.1257/aer.96.5.1652 - DOI
    1. Benenson J. F., Pascoe J., Radmore N. (2007). Children’s altruistic behavior in the dictator game. Evol. Hum. Behav. 28, 168–175. 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2006.10.003 - DOI

LinkOut - more resources