Psychological Science 2018, (2) 357-363 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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primary school children
fairness cognition
procedural fairness cognition
procedural information
outcome information
LIU Ya-Ying
Article by Ding,f
Article by Liu,Y.Y
Article by Zhang,l

The Development of Primary School Children’s Ability of Procedural Fairness Cognition and Its Attribution Orientation


According to the literatures on procedural fairness cognition, some researchers have provided the evidences to support the idea that high school students, college students and adults attach importance to procedural fairness. But until now, there is little research exploring primary school children’s procedural fairness cognition. In addition, the existing findings in the western world can not be directly extended to the eastern cultural environment without empirical test, because of the great differences between eastern culture and western culture. Based on these reasons, this research systematically examined the development of primary school children’s ability of procedural fairness cognition. First of all, a procedural fairness cognitive scenario story was collected and veri?ed as the measure material for developmental characteristics of procedural fairness cognition in the following study. The main content of the scenario story was to assume that the participant’s class won in a broadcast gymnastics competition, and that the school should select 10 students from the class to go to the amusement park as a class reward. The scenario story included three kinds of procedural information (have equal voting rights, have voting rights yet not equal, non-voting right) and two kinds of outcome information (positive, negative). Through scoring and explaining the reasons for the three procedural information in two different outcomes, the children’s procedural fairness cognition was examined. After a series of tests, we found that the measure material’ construct validity was .75 and its internal consistency coef?cient was .89. Then the procedural fairness cognitive scenario story was used to investigate the developmental characteristics of ability of procedural fairness cognition and its attribution orientation in different procedural information of 150 primary school children from 1, 3, 5 grades. The results were as follows: (1) The score of primary school children’s ability of procedural fairness cognition showed a gradually improving trend with the growth of grade. Three grades of primary school children could judge whether the procedure is fair when they had the clear procedural information. The procedural fairness judgment of grade 1 children was more influenced by the outcome information, and with the improvement of their moral judgment and cognitive ability. (2) Both the score of primary school children’s ability of procedural fairness cognition in the case of having equal voting rights and having voting rights yet not equal were signi?cantly higher than that in the case of non-voting right. and the score under the negative outcome information was significantly higher than that under the positive outcome information. When the children had the clear fairness procedural information, their fairness judgment was less affected by the outcome information, otherwise the latter was easy to be affected by the outcome. (3) With the growth of the grade, the procedural fairness cognitive attribution of primary school children decreased in the outcome-orientation and authority-orientation, while increased in the procedure–orientation. The attribution in the ability-orientation increased with grade, and then decreased gradually after grade 3. The research shows that primary school children’s ability of procedural fairness cognition develops with age and is influenced by procedural information and outcome information. The procedural fairness cognitive attribution of primary school children is more and more inclined to procedure–orientation with age.

Keywords primary school children   fairness cognition   procedural fairness cognition   procedural information   outcome information  
Received 2017-08-18 Revised 2018-01-24 Online: 2018-03-20 
Corresponding Authors: Fang DING
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