When Does the In-Group Like the Out-Group? Bias Among Children as a Function of Group Norms

Rutland, Adam; Hitti, Aline; Mulvey, Kelly Lynn; Abrams, Dominic and Killen, Melanie. 2015. When Does the In-Group Like the Out-Group? Bias Among Children as a Function of Group Norms. Psychological Science, 26(6), pp. 834-842. ISSN 0956-7976 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Research indicates that in-group favoritism is prevalent among both adults and children. Although research has documented that individuals do not consistently display an in-group bias, the conditions under which out-group preference exists are not well understood. In this study, participants (N = 462) aged 9 to 16 years judged in-group deviant acts that were either in line with or counter to a generic norm shared by both groups. The findings demonstrated, for the first time, that children preferred out-group over in-group deviance only when the in-group peer’s deviance was in line with the generic norm and a threat to their group’s identity. Participants justified their disapproval of these deviants by focusing on the need for group cohesion and loyalty, while they signified their approval by spotlighting the need for autonomy. Our findings suggest that children’s intergroup attitudes are influenced by how the behavior of their peers matches different levels of group norms.

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in-group bias, group norms, attitudes, deviance, peer relations, social development, reasoning

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1 June 2015Published
17 April 2015Published Online
22 January 2015Accepted

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Date Deposited:

17 Jan 2017 10:27

Last Modified:

15 Mar 2021 10:24

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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