Rutland, Adam and Brown, Rupert and Cameron, Lindsey and Ahmavaara, Anni M. and Arnold, Katie and Samson, Jenni
Development of the positive-negative asymmetry effect: In-group exclusion norm as a mediator of children’s evaluations on negative attributes.
European Journal of Social Psychology,
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Two studies were conducted that go beyond previous research by examining when and why children might show intergroup bias in the attribution of positive, but not negative traits (PNAE: the positive-negative asymmetry effect, Mummendey & Otten, 1998). In Study 1 (n = 107) children completed a ‘mixed’ trait attribution task in a dichotomous group context. As predicted there was a developmental trend between 7 and 12 years of age in the PNAE. The seven year olds were the only age group not to show the effect. Study 1 also found a quadratic developmental trend in children’s national intergroup bias. Study 2 (n = 62) replicated the developmental path of the PNAE found in Study 1 using a wider age range of 6 to 16 years. This study used a ‘mixed’ list of traits which weren’t only antonyms and a procedure that made the positive and negative trait dimensions explicitly independent. Significantly, Study 2 found ingroup exclusion norm partially mediated the development of the PNAE. These findings support an account of the positive-negative asymmetry effect based upon normative processes.
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