What Is “Fair” Is Not the Same Everywhere

A new open-access science education article, written by scientists and 'youth-reviewed by' students, explores the cross-cultural psychology of fairness, and invites youth to engage perspective-taking in moral disagreements.
Published in Neuroscience
What Is “Fair” Is Not the Same Everywhere

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By Susan Hanisch Dustin Eirdosh

Where does our sense of fairness come from? Is our sense of fairness a human universal or does it manifest itself differently in different cultural environments? These are big questions for the human sciences, but we believe students of all ages can reflect on their own concept of fairness as a starting point both for science education and global perspective taking. Our new article on Frontiers for Young Minds, What Is “Fair” Is Not the Same Everywhere, attempts to offer one resource in this direction. Written together with authors from the target article in Psychological Science (Schäfer, Haun & Tomasello 2015), the youth-oriented article on Frontiers combines an analogy to everyday life with an explanation of cross-cultural research into conceptions of fairness during childhood gameplay. Students learn that while humans around the world do care about fairness in some way, how this sense develops in an individual may be quite diverse based on differences within our everyday lives. Students are then invited to reflect on why understanding the cultural diversity of our sense of fairness might really matter in the real world. We believe this short article is just a small step to bringing more interdisciplinary human science content into classrooms. Students can engage in a science education adequate to the 21st century by reflecting on the everyday experience of our human behaviors in the light of evolution and sustainability sciences. We encourage you to download the open-access PDF from Frontiers for Young Minds and explore these themes with the students in your life!


Hanisch S, Eirdosh D, Schäfer M and Haun D (2021) What Is “Fair” Is Not
the Same Everywhere. Front. Young Minds 9:580435. doi: 10.3389/frym.2021.

Schäfer, M., Haun, D. B., & Tomasello, M. (2015). Fair is not fair everywhere. Psychological science26(8), 1252-1260.

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