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J Exp Child Psychol. 2014 May;121:111-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2013.11.008. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

No one likes a copycat: a cross-cultural investigation of children's response to plagiarism.

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University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA. Electronic address:
Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.


Copying other people's ideas is evaluated negatively by American children and adults. The current study investigated the influence of culture on children's evaluations of plagiarism by comparing children from three countries--the United States, Mexico, and China--that differ in terms of their emphasis on the protection of intellectual property and ideas. Children (3- to 6-year-olds) were presented with videos involving two characters drawing pictures and were asked to evaluate the character who drew unique work or the character who copied someone else's drawing. The study showed that 5- and 6-year-olds from all three cultures evaluated copiers negatively compared with unique drawers. These results suggest that children from cultures that place different values on the protection of ideas nevertheless develop similar concerns with plagiarism by 5-year-olds.


Copy; Culture; Development; Ideas; Intellectual property; Plagiarism

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