Fairness decisions in children and early adolescents with and without hearing loss

Adva Eichengreen*, Evelien Broekhof, Berna Güroğlu, Carolien Rieffe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Although having universal aspects, development of a sense of fairness, a milestone in children's social development, is influenced by social and cultural forces. Yet, it scarcely has been studied in children who are at risk for their social development, let alone in deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children, who have limited access to linguistic and social input. This study examined for the first time equity preferences in DHH children compared with hearing counterparts. About 179 children (8–11 years) and early adolescents (12–14 years) played four economic allocation games where they distributed coins between themselves and another child. Participants with and without hearing loss were similar in conditions that entailed non-costly prosociality or self-maximization. However, DHH participants showed weaker inequity aversion in more complex conditions: DHH children were more willing to allow other players to receive more coins than themselves, compared with hearing children and to DHH or hearing adolescents, and DHH adolescents were less willing to share resources when it was self-costly, compared with all other groups. Findings are discussed in light of the tension between norms of social comparison and norms of prosociality, and how they are reflected in developmental trajectories for inequity aversion when access to these norms is limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-902
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Development
Issue number3
Early online date29 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


The authors would like to thank Carolien van der Rest for her assistance in task development. The project was supported by the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (a VIDI grant) by The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NOW), grant no. 452‐07‐004 to Carolien Rieffe; and by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska‐Curie grant agreement, grant no. 707404 to Adva Eichengreen.

FundersFunder number
European Union's Horizon 2020
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme707404
Meningitis Now


    • deaf/hard-of-hearing
    • fairness
    • inequity aversion
    • prosociality
    • social comparison
    • social development


    Dive into the research topics of 'Fairness decisions in children and early adolescents with and without hearing loss'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this