By Rebecca Morelle Science reporter, BBC World Service
Researchers have analyzed the long-term effect of growing up alone
People growing up under China's one-child policy are less trusting, more risk averse and more pessimistic, a study concludes. An Australian team of researchers compared people who were born just before the policy was introduced with those born after. They used economic games and surveys to assess the participants' behavioral and personality traits. The findings are published in the journal Science.
The lead author of the study Professor Lisa Cameron, from Monash University in Victoria, told the BBC's Science in Action programme: "We found that people born under the one-child policy were significantly less trusting and less trustworthy, significantly less likely to take risks and less competitive than those who were born before. "We also conducted personality surveys and we found that those born under the one-child policy were less conscientious, slightly more neurotic and significantly more pessimistic than those born before." However, another scientist from the University of Oxford said that the team was making a very strong claim and the differences between the two groups might not be solely down to the policy. Money games
China's population-control policy was introduced in 1979, and it restricts couples in urban areas to have only one child. The researchers looked at 421 adults: half were born a few years before the policy was introduced and the other half were born a few years after. They used different economic experiments to study the participants. “In China, there is a very common belief that the one child generation is spoilt and selfish and they are not hardworking” End Quote Professor Xin Meng Australian National University in Canberra One, called the "trust game", involved a scenario where a volunteer was given some money. They were then given the option of giving some of this...