Major

Psychology

Research Abstract

Past research indicates children and adolescents reason about excluding ingroup members by referencing concerns for how the group functions (Hitti, Mulvey, Rutland, Abrams, & Killen, 2013). Less is known about how children and adolescents reason about exclusion of ingroup members whose actions come at a cost to one’s own group. The current study examined reasoning for excluding an ingroup member who helps an outgroup at varying levels of need for each group. / The current study examined 189 responses from 4th and 8th graders, using three scenarios of varying need for water when on a camping trip: 1) in-group needs more, 2) out-group needs more, and 3) both need equal water. They were then told an in-group member found water and decided to distribute the water such that they were: 1) helping each group equally, or 2) helping the out-group more (varied between-subject). Fisher’s exact tests were conducted to compare how often 4th and 8th graders used Empathy, Generosity, Group Functioning, Group Loyalty, or Not good enough reason, to justify their judgment regarding exclusion of the in-group member. / Chi-Square tests showed children were more likely to judge exclusion as not okay than okay in all scenarios (ps < .001). Compared to 4th graders, 8th graders were more likely to reference group functioning reasoning when the outgroup needed more water and the member distributed the water equally (23.5% vs. 76.5%). Eighth graders were more likely to say there was no good reason for excluding the member when both groups had an equal need for water and water was distributed equally (16.70% vs. 83.30%). 4th graders referenced empathy more than 8th graders when the outgroup needed more water and the distribution favored the outgroup (0% vs. 100%). Findings are discussed in light of previous research on children’s reasoning about exclusion.

Faculty Mentor/Advisor

Aline Hitti

Available for download on Sunday, May 01, 2022

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May 1st, 12:00 AM

How Do Children and Adolescents Reason About Excluding an Unhelpful In-group Member?

Past research indicates children and adolescents reason about excluding ingroup members by referencing concerns for how the group functions (Hitti, Mulvey, Rutland, Abrams, & Killen, 2013). Less is known about how children and adolescents reason about exclusion of ingroup members whose actions come at a cost to one’s own group. The current study examined reasoning for excluding an ingroup member who helps an outgroup at varying levels of need for each group. / The current study examined 189 responses from 4th and 8th graders, using three scenarios of varying need for water when on a camping trip: 1) in-group needs more, 2) out-group needs more, and 3) both need equal water. They were then told an in-group member found water and decided to distribute the water such that they were: 1) helping each group equally, or 2) helping the out-group more (varied between-subject). Fisher’s exact tests were conducted to compare how often 4th and 8th graders used Empathy, Generosity, Group Functioning, Group Loyalty, or Not good enough reason, to justify their judgment regarding exclusion of the in-group member. / Chi-Square tests showed children were more likely to judge exclusion as not okay than okay in all scenarios (ps < .001). Compared to 4th graders, 8th graders were more likely to reference group functioning reasoning when the outgroup needed more water and the member distributed the water equally (23.5% vs. 76.5%). Eighth graders were more likely to say there was no good reason for excluding the member when both groups had an equal need for water and water was distributed equally (16.70% vs. 83.30%). 4th graders referenced empathy more than 8th graders when the outgroup needed more water and the distribution favored the outgroup (0% vs. 100%). Findings are discussed in light of previous research on children’s reasoning about exclusion.