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Effects of language and social behaviour on children's reactions to foreign people in television

Durkin, K. and Judge, J. (2001) Effects of language and social behaviour on children's reactions to foreign people in television. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 19 (4). pp. 597-612. ISSN 0261-510X

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Abstract

This study investigated children's reactions to people speaking a foreign language on television in either prosocial or antisocial representations. It was predicted that prejudice would be greatest in the condition in which the targets were shown speaking a foreign language and behaving in an antisocial manner, and that this would be most marked in younger children. Participants aged 6, 8 or 10 years viewed short programmes in which the same family appeared as English-speaking or foreign-speaking, prosocial or antisocial. The language was created for this study, circumventing the possibility of pre-existing biases affecting responses. Children completed three prejudice measures. The results indicated bias against foreign speakers in the 6- and 8-year-old groups, but not in the 10-year-olds. The findings are discussed in relation to developmental changes in prejudice and implications for media portrayals.