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Child Dev. 2006 Jul-Aug;77(4):847-60.

Preschool children's attention to environmental messages about groups: social categorization and the origins of intergroup bias.

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Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


This study was designed to examine the effects of adults' labeling and use of social groups on preschool children's intergroup attitudes. Children (N=87, aged 3-5) attending day care were given measures of classification skill and self-esteem and assigned to membership in a novel ("red" or "blue") social group. In experimental classrooms, teachers used the color groups to label children and organize the classroom. In control classrooms, teachers ignored the color groups. After 3 weeks, children completed multiple measures of intergroup attitudes. Results indicated that children in both types of classrooms developed ingroup-biased attitudes. As expected, children in experimental classrooms showed greater ingroup bias on some measures than children in control classrooms.

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