Prosocial and self-interested intra-twin pair behavior in monozygotic and dizygotic twins in the early to middle childhood transition

Karen Yirmiya, Nancy L. Segal, Guy Bloch, Ariel Knafo-Noam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several related and complementary theoretical frameworks have been proposed to explain the existence of prosocial behavior, despite its potential fitness cost to the individual. These include kin selection theory, proposing that organisms have a propensity to help those to whom they are genetically related, and reciprocity, referring to the benefit of being prosocial, depending on past and future mutual interactions. A useful paradigm to examine prosociality is to compare mean levels of this behavior between monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins. Here, we examined the performance of 883 6.5-year-old twins (139 MZ and 302 DZ same-sex 6.5-year-old full twin pairs) in the Differential Productivity Task. In this task, the twins’ behaviors were observed under two conditions: working for themselves vs. working for their co-twin. There were no significant differences between the performances of MZ and DZ twins in the prosocial condition of the task. Correlations within the twin dyads were significantly higher in MZ than DZ twins in the self-interested condition. However, similar MZ and DZ correlations were found in the prosocial condition, supporting the role of reciprocity in twins’ prosociality towards each other.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere12665
JournalDevelopmental Science
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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