The purpose of the present study was to determine whether preschool boys and girls understand that possession of an object frequently implies ownership, and whether their object-related social behaviors vary as a function of nonverbal cues relating to possession. 5s (N = 75) were grouped in triads and played with a toy which (a) previously had been in no one child’s possession or (b) one of the three children possessed prior to the play session. In both conditions the children’s sharing, defensive, and impinging (taking) behaviors were observed and coded. The 5s were also interviewed regarding their understanding of the experimental situation. They did not seem to view possession as an indicator of ownership; they were incapable or unwilling to modify their behavior in ways consistent with nonverbal cues regarding possession. There were few age differences in social behaviors or interview responses. However, girls shared spontaneously or when asked more than did boys.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies