Sixty-six children between 4.5 and 6 years of age were tested in a resource-allocation game with three different recipients. When the recipient was a friend, children made equitable decisions and shared as much when there was a cost to themselves as when there was no cost. When the recipient was another familiar child who was not a friend, children were less likely to allocate resources to that child. When the recipient was a stranger, children allocated resources as much as with a friend and more than with a nonfriend when there was no cost to themselves. However, when there was a cost to themselves, children treated strangers like nonfriends. These results show that resource-allocation decisions made by young children depend on the recipient. Young children prefer equitable division of resources with friends, treat nonfriends less well, and make prosocial moves with strangers when the cost to self is not high.
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