The relationship between moral judgment and cooperation in children with high-functioning autism.
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This study investigated moral judgment in children with high-functioning autism and their cooperation in prisoner's dilemma game with partners of different moralities. Thirty-eight 6- to 12-year-old high-functioning autistic (HFA) children and 31 typically developing (TD) children were recruited. Children were asked to judge story protagonists' morality. After making this moral judgment correctly, they were asked to play with the morally nice and the morally naughty child in a repeated prisoner's dilemma game. Results showed that both HFA and TD children made correct moral judgments, and that HFA children might even have more rigid criteria for what constitutes morally naughty acts. HFA children's cooperation did not differ depending on the morality of the interaction partner, while TD children showed higher cooperation when interacting with the morally nice than the morally naughty child did. Thus, partner's morality did influence TD children's but not HFA children's subsequent cooperation.
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