Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Applied Developmental Psychology 22 (2001), pp. 559–579. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. Used by permission.


Recent theoretical discussion of the influence of between- and within-culture factors on social behaviors suggests that both approaches may be useful. The present study was designed to investigate the joint influence of sociocultural (between-group) and individual (within-group) factors on resource allocation preferences. Brazilian (n = 166) and European-American (n = 99) children with ages ranging from 37 to 140 months were administered a resource allocation task, which consisted of distributing rewards to themselves or to an acquaintance. As expected, individualistic resource allocation preferences decreased with age, whereas competitive and cooperative resource allocation preferences increased with age. Culture group, the task-specific cognitive demands, and the gender of the child, however, moderated these age differences. For example, gender differences in resource allocation preferences were stronger among Brazilians as compared to European- Americans and stronger in the reduced cognitive demand condition. Models of cooperative and competitive behaviors that consider the role of culture group, gender, and cognitive development and applied implications are discussed.