Prosocial behavior is arguably influenced by an interaction between intrinsic dispositions (e.g., group bias) and extrinsic factors (e.g., institutional regulations). The current study investigated this interaction developmentally. Preschoolers (3- to 4-year-olds) and kindergarteners (5- to 6-year-olds; N = 111) participated in a resource distribution task in which they had to consider both the recipients’ group membership (minimal color-based groups), and their own teachers’ preferences regarding how to distribute (give “all” or “none”). The results revealed that only kindergarteners were influenced by the experimental factors and differently across genders. Specifically, when the recommendation was to give “none,” girls followed it indiscriminately toward in- and out-group recipients, but boys did so only toward out-group recipients. Thus, boys exploited an authority's legitimization to act antisocially, according to a parochial bias.
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© 2016 The Authors. Child Development © 2016 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.