Parallels in Preschoolers' and Adults' Judgments About Ownership Rights and Bodily Rights

Abstract

Understanding ownership rights is necessary for socially appropriate behavior. We provide evidence that preschoolers' and adults' judgments of ownership rights are related to their judgments of bodily rights. Four-year-olds (n = 70) and adults (n = 89) evaluated the acceptability of harmless actions targeting owned property and body parts. At both ages, evaluations did not vary for owned property or body parts. Instead, evaluations were influenced by two other manipulations-whether the target belonged to the agent or another person, and whether that other person approved of the action. Moreover, these manipulations influenced judgments for owned objects and body parts in the same way: When the other person approved of the action, participants' judgments were positive regardless of who the target belonged to. In contrast, when that person disapproved, judgments depended on who the target belonged to. These findings show that young children grasp the importance of approval or consent for ownership rights and bodily rights, and likewise suggest that people's notions of ownership rights are related to their appreciation of bodily rights.

DOI: 10.1111/cogs.12154

Cite this paper

@article{Vondervoort2015ParallelsIP, title={Parallels in Preschoolers' and Adults' Judgments About Ownership Rights and Bodily Rights}, author={Julia W. Van de Vondervoort and Ori Friedman}, journal={Cognitive science}, year={2015}, volume={39 1}, pages={184-98} }