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Young children's responses to media representations of intergroup threat and ethnicity

Durkin, Kevin and Nesdale, Drew and Dempsey, Gemma and McLean, Amanda (2012) Young children's responses to media representations of intergroup threat and ethnicity. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. ISSN 0261-510X

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Abstract

Two studies are reported in which ethnic majority children's reactions to media representations of ethnic minorities are examined. In Study 1, 20 white Scottish 6-year-olds viewed short television stories in which white or ethnic minority children were depicted as hostile to the participants’ in-group (threat present) or not (threat absent). A strong effect of threat on liking was obtained but no effect of ethnicity of target and no interaction. In Study 2, 4- and 6-year-old white Scottish children viewed PowerPoint displays in which Scottish people were shown only as white (traditional version) or as ethnically diverse (multicultural version). Intergroup threat was manipulated. Again, a strong effect of threat was obtained. However, when threat was absent, participants exposed to the traditional condition liked the white out-group more than the multi-ethnic out-group, while participants exposed to the multicultural condition liked the multi-ethnic out-group more than the white out-group. The results are interpreted as consistent with the predictions of Social Identity Development Theory.