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Dev Sci. 2014 Mar;17(2):311-9. doi: 10.1111/desc.12105. Epub 2013 Nov 11.

Religion insulates ingroup evaluations: the development of intergroup attitudes in India.

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Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, USA.


Research on the development of implicit intergroup attitudes has placed heavy emphasis on race, leaving open how social categories that are prominent in other cultures might operate. We investigate two of India's primary means of social distinction, caste and religion, and explore the development of implicit and explicit attitudes towards these groups in minority-status Muslim children and majority-status Hindu children, the latter drawn from various positions in the Hindu caste system. Results from two tests of implicit attitudes find that caste attitudes parallel previous findings for race: higher-caste children as well as lower-caste children have robust high-caste preferences. However, results for religion were strikingly different: both lower-status Muslim children and higher-status Hindu children show strong implicit ingroup preferences. We suggest that religion may play a protective role in insulating children from the internalization of stigma.

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