Relationship reciprocation modulates resource allocation in adolescent social networks : developmental effects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Yeou-Rong Jih
  • Per Block
  • Chii Fen Hiu
  • Emily A. Holmes
  • Jennifer YF Lau

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Oxford
  • ETH Zürich
  • MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
  • King’s College London


Adolescence is characterised as a period of social re-orientation towards peer relationships, entailing the emergence of sophisticated social abilities. Two studies (Study 1: N=42, age 13-17; Study 2: N=81, age 13-16) investigated age group differences in the impact of relationship reciprocation within school-based social networks on an experimental measure of cooperation behaviour. Results suggest development between mid- and late adolescence in the extent to which reciprocation of social ties predicted resource allocation. With increasing age group, investment decisions increasingly reflected the degree to which peers reciprocated feelings of friendship. This result may reflect social cognitive development, which could facilitate the ability to navigate an increasingly complex social world in adolescence and promote positive and enduring relationships into adulthood.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1489–1506
JournalChild Development
Issue number5
Early online date31 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2015


  • Adolescence, Social networks, reciprocation, Dictator Game, Social cognition