National identifications and attitudes towards a 'traditional enemy' nation among English children.

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  • Author(s): Clay, Daisy (); Barrett, Martyn ()
  • Source:
    European Journal of Developmental Psychology. Jan2011, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p25-42. 18p.
  • Additional Information
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    • Abstract:
      This study investigated national identifications and national attitudes among White English children aged 6-7 and 10-11 years old. Eighty children were interviewed using a scale to measure their strength of national identification, and using a trait attribution task and affect questions to measure their attitudes towards four target groups: English people (the in-group), German people (a salient 'traditional enemy' out-group), French people (a salient and positively liked out-group) and Dutch people (a non-salient out-group). It was found that the children's attitudes to German people developed differently from the way in which their attitudes to French and Dutch people developed. There was also consistent evidence of in-group favouritism, at both ages. However, there were no significant relationships between the strength of national identification and attitudes towards any of the four target groups, and there were also no gender differences on any of the measures. It is argued that these findings cannot be explained by cognitive-developmental theory. In addition, while social identity theory is able to explain the different developmental patterns displayed by the children's out-group attitudes, this theory has difficulty in explaining the lack of any relationship between the children's national identifications and attitudes. It is suggested that English children's national attitudes may be driven more by exogenous sources of information about salient national groups than by social identity processes per se. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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