May 20, 2020 - 12:00pm
Via Zoom: Email for Link
Graduate Student, Department of Psychology, Stanford University
Title: Conceptualizing social groups: Children's and adult's inferences between hierarchy and essentialism
Children face the difficult problem of navigating a social world made up of diverse agents that vary on a variety of dimensions. To make sense of this, children carve the world into groups by noticing hierarchy (such as wealth gaps between Black and White Americans) and using essentialist thinking (such as thinking that boys and girls are distinct "kinds"). Little is known about whether and how beliefs about hierarchy and essentialism interact (e.g. whether hierarchy predicts essentialism, or vice versa). The present research tested this possibility with adults and preschool-aged children, examining whether in a novel group context information about group-based hierarchies prompts beliefs about group-based essences, and vice versa. Implications for understanding children's reasoning about social groups, as well as the development of their social biases, are discussed.