BCDC researchers visit India
1 October 2016
Two researchers from the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre spent the summer working in schools in India. During their visit, they collected data for various studies which are examining cultural differences in the development of prosocial behaviour.
Members of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre, led by Professor Bruce Hood, embarked on a programme of cross-cultural research this summer. Lauren Marsh (Senior Research Associate) and Sandra Weltzien (PhD student) visited several schools in Pune, a city in central India for a period of seven weeks. During their visit, Lauren and Sandra were conducting experiments with primary school children aged 5- to 8- years. The experiments were designed to examine the development of different prosocial behaviours, such as sharing, fairness norms and co-operation. The aim of this research is to identify underlying differences in cultural norms for prosocial behaviours, and to determine how robust they are to manipulation. For example, can simple tasks shift children away from selfish behaviour, leading to fairer sharing or more positive cooperation? Over the course of the visit, Lauren and Sandra tested over 400 children. UK comparison data is still being collected so we cannot yet comment on cultural differences between India and the UK. However, initial inspection of the Indian data revealed that adherence to fairness norms varied between children who live in small, Western-style familial groups, compared to those who live more traditionally, with their extended family members.