Social Psychology Project


The expression of prejudice among children has often been considered as a minor problem in the past years. Prejudice involves exhibition of negative attitude and beliefs towards a particular group of people. The study conducted by DaFranca and Monteiro reveals different cases where children express prejudice under justified and unjustified situations, the study further determines the expression of such behaviors in the presence or absence of an interviewer. Therefore, it is significant to relate the circumstances surrounding the two studies.

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The Existing knowledge on the Prejudice in Children and Young People

 Prejudice among the children would often vary as the child grows (Costello & Hodson 2014, p. 175). The study reveals that before the age of seven children express either justified or not accountable prejudice in simple forms. However, when they grow up they tend to develop changes with the negative attitudes, this occurs due to the normative culture that addresses equality. Hence, the children tend to be more subtle and express less prejudice. For instance, the white or the black children tend to portray a biased attitude to the blacks children in indirect ways when they have grown. However, a prejudiced response could often be justified or unjustified depending on the responses conducted by a particular child from a given ethnic group. 

Aversive racism theory aims at reducing the rising cases of discrimination that could occur because of social egalitarianism. The theory examines the responses that an individual would conduct in a non-racially related justification or in a case where the required social response is not defined. The cognitive developmental theory view prejudice as inevitable among the children since they lack sufficient knowledge to view minor groups as individuals that deserve equal social treatment (França & Monteiro 2004, p. 715).

How Social Norms Affect Expression of Prejudice among Children and Adults

The social norms of people vary across different cultural diversities. The behaviors of a given group of people are often defined by certain rules and norms that, changes according to different environment and situations. The social norms related to anti-racism determine the level of prejudice discrimination among the children. Anti-racism norm moderates the expression of racism in most of the multi racism communities. The children tend to master different social behaviors during their growth and development. The negative attitudes expressed by adults towards the blacks or whites would often affect the children when they grow up. Therefore, they would express similar attitudes toward a particular group and such implicit behaviors and attitudes would often contradict with the outlined egalitarian attitude (Durkin, Et al., 2012, p. 245).

Prejudice among the adults occurs due to prejudice related views by other groups of people from the similar native group. The social norms define the strengths of prejudice and influences among the adults. The social groups that have ambiguous rules, the minority groups are often vulnerable to more discrimination compared to the groups that have clear and defined norms (França & Monteiro 2004, p. 717). Clear norms would often result in a society of people with less attitude change toward the minority groups. Therefore, the normative control in racially identified communities would reduce the racially biased behaviors among the adults. The public and private context affect the expression of extreme behaviors among the adults. People tend to reduce their expression of prejudice in society compared to their private social practices. 

Measures used to Reward Allocation and Suitability

The behavior on justified and unjustified responses conducted by the children was determined by the mean number of the sweets that the children rewarded to the participants who had carried more bricks. The wrong context required the participant to reward the participant equally since they had done an equal piece of work, however, the variables of the distribution was found to be from 0-6. The proper context required the participant to rewards depending on the different performances. The variable analysis determined the reward allocation in both justified and unjustified context. The use of sweets as a reward in this study was significant since it often motivates children. The ANOVA analysis method to determine the racial responses of the white children since there was no main effect of age (França & Monteiro 2004, p. 705).

Measures taken to ensure Consistency in Stimulus of Photographs

The pre-test was conducted on the skin color to determine the effect of images portrayed in the photographs (França & Monteiro 2004, p. 707). The interviewer regularly referred to the photographs while asking a question that related to a particular gender, like building a garage for boys and a playhouse for girls the interviewer kept showing the children the photograph of the children and the number of bricks that they had carried. The identity and the physical appearances were evaluated by the judges on the required parameters. The photographs enhanced the memory of the children due to the physical appearances and the skin color. 

Effect of Target Performance on Reward Allocation

The target performance determined the measure of reward allocation based on the number of bricks carried. The rewards had major effects since F(2, 80) =68.94, p≤001. The children utilized the target as the primary criterion for the award. Both the young and the older children distributed more rewards to the children with adequate performance. The children who had performed well by carrying three bricks had a mean of 3.65 SD=0.69 t(81)=8,07, the figures were more significant compared to the children who were classified as the second best who carried two brick with M=2.96, SD=0.42 t(81)=8.07, p≤001. The participants who performed poorly had M=2.36, SD=0.56 t(81)=9.70, p≤001

The main effect of the target was F=9.93, p was less than 002. Therefore the overall black target received a lower reward where the SD=0.28 and the medium were 2.92, and this figures were different from those of the white where the medium was 3.13, and the SD was 0.37. The equal versus different targets performances determined the level of reward to the children. The development of aversive racism was observed when the older children were guided by the normative rules to reward the white children compared to the black (Costello & Hodson 2014, p. 705). The younger children rewarded the white more than the black.

The two-way interaction was analyzed separately. The analysis covered both the justified and unjustified conditions. The effect of age and ethnic group would determine the validity of the second hypotheses where the younger children were expected to reward the white target more than the black children. The planned comparison played a critical role in ensuring that the younger children offered rewards to both black and white children. The three-way interaction test confirmed the second hypotheses.

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How Study 2 would Improve the Findings of Study 1

The second study further aims at determining aversive racism among the young people. The presence of interviews affect the way children would behave in their absence. The older children are keen to observe the normative rules while the interviewer is present, the younger children do not portray the feature. The justification-suppression model could play a vital role in ensuring that the prejudice expression is suppressed (França & Monteiro 2004, p. 707). The helping behavior is described to work efficiently toward helping the adults. However, the method is limited while using it for children. The methods utilized in the first study would be improved by the use of experimenters rather than the children.

The Similarities and Differences of Study 1 and 2

The two studies involve examining the impacts of aversive racism. The intergroup biased racial behaviors are expressed in both studies. The studies further access developmental impacts in both younger and the older children. The findings of both studies reveal that older children tend to be conscious on egalitarian social norms hence they tend to treat the groups under study equally on a not justified basis, provided that an interviewer is present. The black and white children were the target of the experiment. The normative context play a major role in both cases, it has ensured that the prejudice behaviors are suppressed (Durkin, Et al., 2012, p.246).

There was no interaction effect between the participant’s age and the target. In the second study, the effect of age and group were examined differently based on the absence or the presence of the interview. Unlike the first study, the second study reveals that the younger participants offered similar rewards to children targeted. The effect of the target in the first study included F(1,67)=3.19, p=.07. The experiment conducted in the second study showed that the black child was provided with less money compared to the white child where M=5.98; SD=1.17. The presence or absence of an interviewer had an effect in the second study unlike the first case.

Implications of the Results of the Research

The results of the study enable the researchers to target a specified area while addressing aversive racism among the young children and the adults. The social norms are outlined as part of the effects that determine the expression of prejudice, and this feature would explain how different people would treat those from other races in unjustified responses. The results would enable the social groups to develop various methods of reducing the figures of justified versus unjustified mode of treatment by an individual from a particular race to a minority case. Aversive theory model plays a vital role in racial interventions especially in cases where unaccountable responses are conducted (Costello & Hodson 2014, p. 175).

Research Question on the Extension of the Study

Extension of the study on the topic would require the more participants as adults. The social norms on prejudice should be explained to the adults, and this would ensure the relationship between the child and the parent attitudes are accessed. Therefore, the adults surrounding children can enable them to reduce prejudice. The researcher should expand interventions on theorizing since most of the research activities are often conducted between the blacks and the whites hence ignoring other racial groups. It is also significant that the future study conducts interviews in schools to examine the students with racial problems (Durkin, Et al., 2012, p.245).

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Children tend to control their expression of prejudice when exposed to egalitarian norms. However, as their ages progress, they tend to reduce such expressions in public but then expresses them indirectly. The studies conducted creates the impact of aversive racism. The participant’s attitudes to unjustified responses were evident in both studies.

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  1. Costello, K. and Hodson, G., 2014. Explaining dehumanization among children: The interspecies model of prejudice. British Journal of Social Psychology53(1), pp.175-197.
  2. Durkin, K., Hunter, S., Levin, K.A., Bergin, D., Heim, D. and Howe, C., 2012. Discriminatory peer aggression among children as a function of minority status and group proportion in school context. European Journal of Social Psychology42(2), pp.243-251.
  3. França, D. X., & Monteiro, M. B. 2004. A expressão das formas indirectas de racismo na infância. (The expression of indirect forms of racism in childhood). Análise Psicológica, 4(XXII), 705–720.
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