Two studies are reported in which ethnic majority children's reactions to media representations of ethnic minorities are examined. In Study 1, 20 white Scottish 6-year-olds viewed short television stories in which white or ethnic minority children were depicted as hostile to the participants’ in-group (threat present) or not (threat absent). A strong effect of threat on liking was obtained but no effect of ethnicity of target and no interaction. In Study 2, 4- and 6-year-old white Scottish children viewed PowerPoint displays in which Scottish people were shown only as white (traditional version) or as ethnically diverse (multicultural version). Intergroup threat was manipulated. Again, a strong effect of threat was obtained. However, when threat was absent, participants exposed to the traditional condition liked the white out-group more than the multi-ethnic out-group, while participants exposed to the multicultural condition liked the multi-ethnic out-group more than the white out-group. The results are interpreted as consistent with the predictions of Social Identity Development Theory.
- developmental psychology
- intergroup attitudes