Children and Prejudice

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Running head: CHILDREN AND PREJUDICE

Children and Prejudice

Abstract Over the last century, researchers have been debating whether prejudices are inborn in children, researchers then found that children are in fact prejudiced, but debate arises about how they become prejudiced. Some studies suggested that children are born with being prejudiced and that it is innate and natural, where as other studies argue that prejudice behavior are learnt socially off parents, family, peers and the social environment in which they grew up in. Theories have been devised to help explain the prejudice processes of children by in-group and out-group behavior; there is the Developmental Intergroup Theory and the Social Identity Developmental theory. A new debate has been surfacing about the decrease of prejudice at the age of seven and no decrease of prejudice. One Australian study shows consistency with children of American and Canada, but some studies show no racial prejudice towards other races in children.

Children and Prejudice Question of whether children are prejudiced has long been debated. Past and recent researches have found that there are in fact prejudice tendencies in children and that it can be present at the age of three to four years, but it is unclear how children become prejudiced. Definition of prejudice according to Allport (1954) is that prejudice is “thinking ill of others without sufficient warrant” (As cited in Eagly, xxxx, p. 45) and according to Kosslyn and Rosenberg (2004) prejudice is “an attitude (generally negative) toward members of a group” (p. G-7). In the course of research on the prejudice of children, there has been debate over the “relative role of cognition versus environmental-learning factors…” (Gutman & Hickson, 1996, p.448). Several theories have tried to explain the prejudice in children, for example, the Developmental Intergroup Theory (Bigler & Liben, 1996) and the Social Identity Development Theory (Nesdale, Durkin, Maass



References: Aboud, F. E. (2003). The formation of in-group favoritism and out-group prejudice in young children: Are they distinct attitudes? Developmental Psychology, 39, 48-60. Augoustinos, M., & Reynolds, K. J. (2001). The development of prejudice in children. D. Garvey (Eds.), Understanding prejudice, racism, and social conflict (pp.57-73). London: SAGE publications. Augoustinos, M., & Rosewarne, D. L. (2001). Stereotype knowledge and prejudice in children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 19, 143-156. Bergen, T. J. (2001). The Development of Prejudice in Children. Education, 122, 154-163. Bigler, R. S., & Liben. L. S. (2007) Developmental Intergroup Theory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 132-166. Clark, K. B. (1970). The problem of Prejudice. Prejudice and your Child. (pp. 17-24). Boston: Beacon Press. Gutman, D. B., & Hickson, F. (1996). The relationship between racial attitudes and social-cognitive development in children: An Australian study. Developmental Psychology, 12, 448-456. Kosslyn, S. M., & Rosenberg, R. S. (2004). Psychology (pp.G-7). Sydney: Pearson. Kowalski, K. (2003). The Emergence of Ethnic and Racial Attitudes in Preschool-Aged Children. The Journal of Social Psychology, 143, 677-690. Nesdale, A.R. (2004) Development of Prejudice in Children. In M. Augoustinos & K. Reynolds (Eds), The Psychology of Prejudice and Racism (pp.1-12), Sage Nesdale, D., Durkin, K., Maass, A., & Griffiths, J Sinclair, S., Dunn, E., & Lowery, B. S. (2005). The relationship between parental racial attitudes and children’s implicit prejudice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 41, 283-289. Vaughan, G. M., & Hogg, M. A. (2008). Aggression. Introduction to Social Psychology (pp. 452-453). Australia: Pearson.

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