In the current studies, we addressed the development of effort-based object valuation. Four- and 6-year-olds invested either great or little effort in order to obtain attractive or unattractive rewards. Children were allowed to allocate these rewards to an unfamiliar recipient (dictator game). Investing great effort to obtain attractive rewards (a consonant situation) led 6-year-olds, but not 4-year-olds, to enhance the value of the rewards and thus distribute fewer of them to others. After investing effort to attain unattractive rewards (a dissonant situation), 6-year-olds cognitively reduced the dissonance between effort and reward quality by reappraising the value of the rewards and thus distributing fewer of them. In contrast, 4-year-olds reduced the dissonance behaviorally by discarding the rewards. These findings provide evidence for the emergence of an effort-value link and underline possible mechanisms underlying the primacy of cognitive versus behavioral solutions to dissonance reduction.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the Israel Foundation Trustees (Grant No. 30).
© The Author(s) 2015.
- Cognitive development
- Decision making