Younger children become more selfish than older children following a natural disaster.
American and Canadian researchers studied Chinese children’s empathy and altruism one month after a 2008 earthquake.
The study found while nine year olds’ willingness to give to others nearly tripled after the earthquake, six year olds’ willingness to share dropped by a third. Nine year olds also had significantly higher empathy scores than six year olds.
The results suggest that altruism at a young age remains fragile.