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Misch, Antonia ORCID: 0000-0001-9184-5006; Dunham, Yarrow; Paulus, Markus (2022): The developmental trajectories of racial and gender intergroup bias in 5- to 10-year-old children: The impact of general psychological tendencies, contextual factors, and individual propensities. Acta Psychologica, 229 (103709). ISSN 00016918

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Racism and intergroup discrimination are pervasive problems in human societies. Whereas several studies have shown that children show bias in the context of many kinds of groups, much less is known about how and when general psychological tendencies and contextual factors contribute to the manifestation of intergroup bias across development, and whether individual differences play a role. In the present study, we pursue these questions by investigating and comparing the developmental trajectories of intergroup bias in 5- to 10-year-old (mostly) White children (n=100). We assessed children’s liking and preferences towards 4 racial groups (White, East Asian, Black, and Middle Eastern) and towards 2 gender groups (male and female) in a within-subject design. We found that the young children in our sample showed a significant racial and gender ingroup bias, speaking to an early and strong manifestation of intergroup bias on the basic ingroup-outgroup distinction. This bias decreased with age. At the same time, we found considerable differences between the different types of outgroups from early on. Furthermore, there were remarkable differences between the developmental trajectories of gender and racial intergroup bias, highlighting the role of both social and contextual influences. Finally, our results did not reveal consistent evidence for the influence of individual differences on children’s intergroup bias.

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