British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 28 Issue 2 (June 2010), Pages 219-504

Effects of information about group members on young children's attitudes towards the in‐group and out‐group (pages 467-482)

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.

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