Are kids from more religious families more or less altruistic than their peers from less-religious families?
That’s what a high-profile new study from University of Chicago neuroscientist Jean Decety and a global crew of collaborators sought to determine. In the course of the study, published in the journal of Current Biology, the researchers use something called the “children’s dictator game,” a.k.a. stickerpalooza. Here’s how it worked:
Step one. Go to an elementary school. Find a child. Place a set of 30 stickers in front of the child. Tell the child to pick her favorite ten.
Step two. Introduce a plot twist. Tell the kid that not everyone in school could participate in the sticker bonanza. Fortunately, there is a chance to share: the kid can pick between zero and 10 of her favorite, cream-of-the-crop stickers, and set them aside in an envelope. That envelope will go to another person in the school. Afterward, the kid will walk out with whatever stickers she chose to keep.