Cultural differences in the development of a preference for scarce objects

Gil Diesendruck, Wen Chi Chiang, Matar Ferera*, Avi Benozio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adults value scarce objects, such as rare precious stones and limited edition items. This valuation may derive from an understanding of market forces and sociological considerations, but it may also be related to more basic cognitive and motivational processes. The present studies addressed these possibilities by investigating the development and cross-cultural prevalence of a preference for scarce objects. Children (N=366) from Israel and Taiwan, ranging from 4 to 11 years of age, were given a choice between a scarce and an abundant reward. We found that whereas a preference for the scarce appeared among Israelis by age 7, it never appeared among the Taiwanese. These findings indicate that a scarcity preference emerges already at age 7, but only among children living in a culture that emphasizes self-individuality. These findings are discussed in light of cultural accounts of the development of self-motivations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume55
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Psychological Association.

Keywords

  • Behavioral economics
  • Cognitive development
  • Cross cultural differences
  • Decision making
  • Scarcity preference
  • Values

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