Concern for group reputation increases prosociality in young children

Jan M. Engelmann, Esther Herrmann, Michael Tomasello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The motivation to build and maintain a positive personal reputation promotes prosocial behavior. But individuals also identify with their groups, and so it is possible that the desire to maintain or enhance group reputation may have similar effects. Here, we show that 5-year-old children actively invest in the reputation of their group by acting more generously when their group’s reputation is at stake. Children shared significantly more resources with fictitious other children not only when their individual donations were public rather than private but also when their group’s donations (effacing individual donations) were public rather than private. These results provide the first experimental evidence that concern for group reputation can lead to higher levels of prosociality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-190
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number2
Early online date2 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


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