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The Effects of Age-Mixing on Peer Cooperation and Competition
Human Ethology Bulletin
  • Chao Liu, Cedarville University
  • Peter LaFreniere
Document Type
Publication Date

This study may be the first to directly test the hypothesis that mixed-age interaction can increase cooperation and reduce competition among peers. Twenty pairs of preschoolers (ages 4-6) were observed twice in same-gender triads in a play situation involving a limited-resource: once in a same-age triad of preschoolers and once in a mixed-age triad that included a child approximately 5 years older. Children in mixed-age groups spent more time playing, were more equitable in sharing the resource, better organized and more cooperative, with smoother turn-taking and higher performance scores in the game. Children in same-age groups spent more time interfering with the game or disengaged. These findings demonstrate the potential benefits of mixed-age interaction in school settings.

  • Cedarville,
  • psychology,
  • cooperation,
  • competition,
  • peer relations,
  • mixed-age socialization
Citation Information
Chao Liu and Peter LaFreniere. "The Effects of Age-Mixing on Peer Cooperation and Competition" Human Ethology Bulletin Iss. 29 (2014) p. 4 - 17
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