This research was funded by a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (Grant R000230401).
Children’s Judgments of Disloyal and Immoral Peer Behavior: Subjective Group Dynamics in Minimal Intergroup Contexts
Article first published online: 24 MAR 2008
© 2008, Copyright the Author(s); Journal Compilation © 2008, Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 79, Issue 2, pages 444–461, March/April 2008
How to Cite
Abrams, D., Rutland, A., Ferrell, J. M. and Pelletier, J. (2008), Children’s Judgments of Disloyal and Immoral Peer Behavior: Subjective Group Dynamics in Minimal Intergroup Contexts. Child Development, 79: 444–461. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01135.x
- Issue published online: 24 MAR 2008
- Article first published online: 24 MAR 2008
The developmental model of subjective group dynamics hypothesizes that peer exclusion during middle childhood involves inferences about group dynamics. To test the generality of this prediction, children judged, within minimal groups, peers whose behavior was loyal versus disloyal (Study 1: n = 46, mean age = 113 months) or morally acceptable versus unacceptable (Study 2: n = 121, mean age = 90 months). As hypothesized, in Study 1, children used their understanding of loyalty norms as a basis for evaluating peers. In both studies, higher commitment to the in-group increased use of group-based criteria for judging peers. In Study 2, children employed moral- and group-based criteria independently for judging peers. Multiple classification skill was associated with lower intergroup bias and greater use of morality-based judgment.