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The cross-cultural development of resource allocation behaviour (XCULTDEVRESALL)
Start date: Oct 1, 2013, End date: Sep 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In human society, there is a need to regulate the allocation and distribution of goods to prevent conflicts over access to resources. The developmental trajectory of how children learn resource allocation rules has been established for children in Western cultures, but very little is known about the cross-cultural development of these behaviors. My project will thus investigate the cross-cultural development of resource allocation behavior (1) by designing a comprehensive battery of behavioral tests for 3- to 8-year-old children and (2) by using this test battery to study children in two different small-scale cultures in Kenya and Namibia, respectively, and in Germany. This project will be supervised by Prof Michael Tomasello at the Department of Comparative and Developmental Psychology (MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany), who is a world-leading authority on the development of social cognition and cultural learning and has successfully mentored more than 50 early career researchers. The Department offers a vibrant, highly prolific, interdisciplinary environment with about 40 researchers at different stages of their careers and unique research facilities in the ERA for conducting developmental, cross-cultural research (e.g., a developmental lab, field-sites in Kenya & Namibia, support staff). By conducting this project I will gain crucial postdoctoral experience and (1) acquire new scientific skills in cross-cultural methodology, anthropological knowledge and field-work experience in Africa, (2) gain new transferable skills e.g. regarding research management and the dissemination of research findings (scientific & general public), and (3) establish a network of collaborations with renowned experts – all of which will prepare me for a career as an independent researcher at a European institution. This timely project will be highly relevant for different disciplines in the behavioral sciences and has the potential to make a significant impact on the field.

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