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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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1
Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA. meaganp@mail.utexas.edu

Abstract

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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