Foundations of Ingroup Bias and Similarity Bias in 2-Year-Olds

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O'Neill, Amy
Development , Group , Similarity , Psychology
The powerful influence of group membership and similarity on perceptions and behaviour is well established; however, questions remain about the developmental trajectory of these patterns and the extent to which similarity bias and ingroup bias are truly distinct. In this thesis, I examined the relative impact of group membership and similarity on matching and non-matching identification, expression of similarity, extension of preferences, transgression attribution, selective helping and resource allocation among 2.5- to 3-year-old children. These findings suggest that early in life, the responses to similarity and group membership are largely overlapping; however, children in the similarity condition were more likely to select the matching puppet in transgression attribution, non-matching identification, and resource allocation. This pattern suggests that children display a stronger approach bias in the similarity condition and that similarity bias shows developmental discontinuity between early and later childhood.
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