Children show preference for lucky people

November 7, 2006

U.S. psychologists have determined children as young as five to seven years of age prefer lucky individuals over less fortunate people.

The Harvard University and Stanford University researchers say that phenomenon might clarify the origins of human attitudes toward differing social groups and help explain the persistence of social inequality.

"The hand of fate touches us all: Hurricanes strike some houses and spare others, lotteries are won and lost, and children are born into wealthy and poor families," said lead author Kristina Olson, a Harvard graduate student in psychology. "We set out to study how children make sense of random events, such as Hurricane Katrina, and how they feel about the people affected by such random events.

"Understanding how children think about others who experience luck or misfortune can provide a window into the origins of attitudes and preferences toward social groups that vary in privilege," she added.

The work by Olson, along with co-authors Mahzarin Banaji and Elizabeth Spelke of Harvard and Carol Dweck of Stanford University, appears in the latest issue of the journal Psychological Science.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: A focus on fairness: Study examines how children react to inequity around the world

Related Stories

Pesticide-makers point to other culprits in bee die-offs

November 23, 2015

In a Nordic-inspired building tucked in a corner of the Bayer CropScience North American headquarters, high school students wander through 6,000 square feet dedicated entirely to the specialness of bees. Children taste different ...

Gene drive reversibility introduces new layer of biosafety

November 16, 2015

In parallel with their development of the first synthetic gene drives - which greatly increase the chance a specific gene will be passed on to all offspring - George Church, Ph.D., and Kevin Esvelt, Ph.D., helped pioneer ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.