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Table 1 Target questions used in the current study

From: Children’s social evaluation toward prestige-based and dominance-based powerholders

Type of question


The friend-preference question

Participants were asked: “Who do you want to be good friends with between these two persons?”

The leader-preference question

Participants were asked: “These two persons are claiming to go toward different places. Which person would you want to follow as a leader?” Although studies usually use linguistic expressions (e.g., “boss”, “in charge” [17, 18]; to directly depict boss and leader, our pilot investigation found that Japanese preschoolers do not understand well the meaning of such linguistic expressions. Therefore, we used the leader–follower context, in which children choose a target as the leader to follow. Note that “leader” may function in dimensions more than just “being followed” (e.g., giving orders [18]; but this does not deny that “being followed” is a typical dimension that preschoolers can understand [19])

The resource-gaining-prediction question

This question aimed to test which type of powerholders children think should gain a valuable resource [17, 20]. Participants saw a vertical arrangement of two chairs, where the upper chair is bigger and more attractive than the lower chair. The experimenter instructed the participants: “There are two chairs here: one is in a higher position, is bigger, and more attractive than the other. Two persons (the dominance-based powerholder and the prestige-based powerholder) want to sit on the more attractive chair and compete for it. See the following pictures and tell me who should sit on the upper chair?”