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Effects of information about group members on young children's attitudes towards the in-group and out-group

Nesdale, Drew and Lawson, Michael J. and Durkin, Kevin and Duffy, Amanda (2010) Effects of information about group members on young children's attitudes towards the in-group and out-group. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28 (2). pp. 467-482. ISSN 0261-510X

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Abstract

Research shows that being a member of a group is sufficient to instigate more positive attitudes towards the in-group than an out-group in young children. The present study assessed whether children's intergroup attitudes during the middle childhood years are moderated by additional information about in-group and out-group members, as proposed by Aboud's (1988) socio-cognitive theory (ST). To a minimal group 6-, 8-, and 10-year-old children (N=159) were assigned, and received information, or no information, about the interests and activities of the in-group and out-group members. Results indicated that the in-group was always rated more positively than the out-group, and that the in-group's ratings were unaffected by either the in-group or out-group information. In contrast, out-group ratings were affected by out-group information, but only when there was no information available about the in-group. The implications of the findings for ST, and for social identity development theory, are discussed.