Cultural differences in the development of a preference for scarce objects.

Adults value scarce objects, such as rare precious stones and limited edition items. This valuation may derive from an understanding of market forces and sociological considerations, but it may also be related to more basic cognitive and motivational processes. The present studies addressed these possibilities by investigating the development and cross-cultural prevalence of a preference for scarce objects. Children (N = 366) from Israel and Taiwan, ranging from 4 to 11 years of age, were given a choice between a scarce and an abundant reward. We found that whereas a preference for the scarce appeared among Israelis by age 7, it never appeared among the Taiwanese. These findings indicate that a scarcity preference emerges already at age 7, but only among children living in a culture that emphasizes self-individuality. These findings are discussed in light of cultural accounts of the development of self-motivations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)