Discuss how might social norms affect the expression of prejudice in children and adults?

PL2D101: Understanding & Researching Psychology: Developmental, Social and Individual Difference Perspectives

Critical Review – Social Psychology

Guided Questions: DaFranca and Monteiro (2013)

1) According to the authors, what is already known about prejudice in children & young people? Include a definition of the Aversive Racism Theory as part of your answer. (150 words)

2) How might social norms affect the expression of prejudice in children and adults? (300 words; hint you will probably need to read around the topic to answer this question effectively)

3) For study 1: Describe the measures used for reward allocation. How suitable were these for assessing the research aims and for the sample used? (100 words)

4) For study 1: What did the authors do to ensure consistency in stimulus photographs? What, if anything, should the authors have done differently and why? (100 words)

5) Complete the following table using the results for study 1 on pages 266 and the graphs on page 267 (approx 200 words):

What effect did target performance have on reward allocation? Include a verbal description of the findings and report the relevant statistics to support your answer.

What, if any, significant main effects were seen in the development of aversive racism? Explain any effects that are present and include statistics to show significant and non-significant main effects.

How do the authors test the significant three-way interaction and what does it show?

6) According to the authors, how will study 2 extend the findings or improve the methods of the first study? Do you think they are correct and why/why not? (100 words)

7) What similarities and differences are there between the results of study 2 and those of study 1? (approx 200 words)

8) What practical/real-world implications do the results of this research have? (approx 200 words)

9) If you could carry out one study to extend this research what research questions would you ask? How would you do it and why? (approx 200 words)

European Journal of Social Psychology, Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 43, 263–271 (2013) Published online in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com) DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.1965

Special issue article

Social norms and the expression of prejudice: The development of aversive racism in childhood


1 2

Federal University of Sergipe, Brazil; CIS-ISCTE, Lisbon University Institute, Portugal


In Study 1, 82 White children aged 5–10years allocated rewards to White and Black target children in justified/unjustified normative contexts according to their performance on a previous task. In Study 2, 71 White children aged 5–10years allocated resources to White and Black target children in conditions of high (interviewer was present) or low (interviewer was absent) salience of the anti-racism norm. In both studies, younger children displayed intergroup biased racial behaviours in most conditions, whereas older children, as expected, only displayed similar egalitarian behaviours in contexts where an anti-racism normative pressure was not salient. Results of both experimental studies highlighted the interplay between child development, the anti-prejudice norm and context factors. Furthermore, they support the assumptions of the theory of aversive racism regarding the use of legitimizing justifications to account for racial biased behaviours and extend its scope to a better understanding of the development of racial prejudice in childhood. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

The expressions of racism in western societies are becoming progressively more subtle and less overtly negative than they were in the early 20th century, mainly due to normative pressures regarding the universal values of equal rights. However, there is extensive evidence for the persistence of both explicit and indirect forms of prejudice against racialized minority groups in these societies (e.g., Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986; Katz & Hass, 1988; Kinder & Sears, 1981; McConahay & Hough, 1976; Pereira, Vala & Costa-Lopes, 2010; Pettigrew & Meertens, 1995), suggesting that more research is needed in order to establish both the contexts and the processes that can favour one or the other pattern of interracial encounters (e.g., Crandall & Eshleman, 2003; Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986; Jost, Banaji & Nosek, 2004). Regarding children, although past literature argued in favour of a general cognitive-developmental model that would account for a reduction of intergroup bias in White children after the age of seven (e.g. Aboud, 1988, 2005; Yee & Brown, 1992), more recent research has found that intergroup bias may persist at that age (e.g. Baron & Banaji, 2006; Fitzroy & Rutland, 2010). This latter finding seems to be due to the importance of egalitarian social norms maximally relevant to regulate older children’s prejudiced behaviours (Rutland, Killen & Abrams, 2010). Indeed, research has shown that, with age, children can comply with those egalitarian norms and control their attitudes and behaviours. Differently, when attitudes of these children were assessed in an implicit or indirect way, intergroup bias became manifest (Rutland, Cameron, Milne & McGeorge, 2005). However, research has not shown how children, similar to adults (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2004), can use ambiguous normative contexts as justifications for prejudiced behaviours and how these effects may be moderated by age.

The current research aims to show that, from middle childhood on, White children may go on to display racial biased attitudes toward Black children, although they will express them in a subtle and indirect way. In two experimental studies, we tested two fundamental assumptions underlying the research on aversive racism: (i) in contexts in which it is possible to find a justification unrelated to the target’s ethnicity to explain a prejudiced response, White children may display intergroup biased behaviour and (ii) the anti-prejudice normative salience can counteract the expression of intergroup biased behaviour in public/accountable, but not in private conditions, and more in older than in younger children. We particularly seek to investigate the role of the anti-prejudice norm’s salience on the emergence of aversive intergroup bias in childhood. We predict that, after the age of seven, White children express, similarly to adults, either blatant or veiled forms of racism according to normatively justifiable and/or non-accountable conditions and that before this age, they will present more simple forms of blatant ethnocentric intergroup behaviour across justification and accountability conditions. In this sense, our goal is to better understand the course of development of this process in White children and what role anti-racism norms can play on the regulation of aversive prejudiced behaviours against an ethnic minority.

*Correspondence to: Dalila Xavier de França, Department of Psychology, Federal University of Sergipe, Sergipe State, Brazil.

E-mail: dalilafranca@uol.com.br

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Received 15 July 2012, Accepted 29 April 2013

This study was conducted in Brazil, a country with a long history of miscegenation and a tradition of racial integration, where Blacks, Indians and Whites live in the same geographic areas and share a largely common culture. We may thus suppose that prevailing contact conditions will favour positive interracial relations. In this regard, Turra and Venturi (1995) observed in their study, with a representative sample of Brazilian population, that almost 90% of participants say that they are not racists. However, the same percentage stated that Brazilians are racists. These results indicate that Brazilians are aware that racism is wrong, although they recognize that racism exists in their country. Other studies show the effects of anti-racism norms in the expression of prejudice in Brazil (see Lima, 2007; França & Lima, 2011, for a review).

Social Norms and the Aversive Expression of Racism

Since the late 1950s, changes in prejudiced expressions against minority groups have become more and more visible, supported by norms of social egalitarianism. These changes have been addressed by the theories of new forms of prejudice (e.g., Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986; Katz & Hass, 1988; McConahay & Hough, 1976; Pettigrew & Meertens, 1995). Aversive racism theory (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986) argues that response contexts can determine more overt or more covert expressions of racism. It asserts that, in contexts in which the socially desirable response is not clearly defined, or in contexts in which one can find a non-racially related justification to explain a negative behaviour toward an outgroup member— in this case, the Blacks—racially biased behaviour can occur. On the contrary, in situations where the norm is clearly antiracist, Blacks are likely to be treated as favourably as Whites, because discrimination against them would harm the egalitarian self-image of a White person (e.g., Pearson, Dovidio & Gaertner, 2009).

Discrimination rooted in aversive racism may occur, however, without the individual being aware of it. Consequently, although blatant expressions of prejudice can be promptly inhibited by the threat of social sanctions, aversive racismrelated bias may remain unchanged (Pearson et al., 2009) and be only revealed through implicit or indirect measures (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2004). Gaertner (1973) first tested these assumptions in two experiments using the paradigm of helping behaviour in which he assessed the differential behaviour of Whites toward Black and White motorists who were allegedly stranded on a highway. The author concluded that social norms moderate the expression of bias stemming from aversive racism, because when an anti-racism norm becomes salient, helping behaviour will not be biased (see also Lima & Vala, 2002). Significantly, the studies of Crandall, Eshleman and O’Brien (2002) added to this set of assumptions evidence that the salience of anti-racism social norms is a sound predictor of the expression of unbiased attitudes or behaviours against social minorities.

Racism in Childhood

Drawing on Allport’s arguments regarding the development of prejudice from early ages to adulthood (1954), Dovidio and Gaertner (1998) argued that as children become aware that exclusion attitudes toward certain social groups are banned by society, the expression of these attitudes may be changed into more egalitarian public attitudes. However, negative attitudes towards African-Americans can also remain until adulthood, often in implicit memory, and may conflict with the egalitarian attitudes that are conscious and explicit. Indeed, some studies using implicit measures corroborated the idea of the permanence of intergroup racial prejudice after middle childhood. For example, Baron and Banaji (2006), using a child-oriented version of the Implicit Association Test (Greenwald, McGhee & Schwarz, 1998), showed an asymmetry in the development of implicit and explicit race attitudes in childhood, with explicit attitudes becoming more egalitarian in middle childhood and implicit attitudes remaining stable and in-group biased throughout development. In the same vein, McGlothlin, Killen and Edmonds (2005) investigated indirect racial bias in judgments regarding cross-race friendships in 6 and 9yearold White children using the ‘ambiguous situation’ paradigm. They found an age-related decline in the judgement that cross-race peers could be friends: Differently from younger children, older male participants displayed a higher indirect racial bias as they reported less frequently that a White and a Black child could be friends when the transgressor was a Black peer than when he was a White peer.

In developmental social psychology, the debate is ongoing about the origins and the course of development of intergroup prejudiced attitudes and behaviours throughout childhood. Although some researchers argued for a predetermined course of dominant White children’s intergroup attitudes (Aboud, 1988) that would peak at the ages of 5 to 7years and would decline in late childhood, mainly due to the emergence of new social and cognitive abilities (e.g., Doyle & Aboud, 1995), other researchers argued that those new developmental abilities are not able, per se, to prevent older children’s prejudiced attitudes: They must be coupled with clear social norms that stress and enforce more egalitarian attitudes (e.g., Killen, McGlothlin & Henning, 2010; Rodrigues, 2012; Rutland, 2004) or make it clear to children how they can control their racial prejudice.

To address Allport’s (1954) idea that individuals try to control their ethnic prejudice, Fitzroy and Rutland (2010; see also Rodrigues, 2012) have shown in White 6 to 9-year-old children that with age they can better control the expression of racial prejudice when they face a public exposure but also that this effect was moderated by children’s awareness of the anti-prejudice norm. Also, the role of normative pressure to comply with the anti-racial prejudice norm was analysed in 6–7 and 8- to 10-year-old White Portuguese children (Monteiro, França & Rodrigues, 2009). In the non-salient norm condition, both younger and older children similarly favoured the White over the Black target child, whereas in the salient norm condition, younger, but not older children, favoured the White child.

Drawing on this research, we can point at important normative-contextual conditions that can allow children to display aversive racial biased behaviours. Those conditions can occur when anti-prejudice norms are not clearly conveyed (e.g. more in older than in younger children, Rodrigues, 2012, Rutland et al., 2005) and acknowledged (e.g. in racially homogenous settings, Cohen, 1980; Khmelkov & Hallinan, 1999; Schofield, 1989), when appropriate normative control is not endorsed (e.g., in anonymous contexts, Monteiro et al., 2009), or when those norms are counteracted by contextual cues (e.g., non-racially justified context, França & Monteiro, 2004).

The fact that few studies have been carried out on the emergence of aversive racism in children may be due to the idea, widespread in developmental literature, that early prejudice against members of other ethnic groups is closely related to limitations in their cognitive abilities, as proposed by the socio-cognitive developmental theory (CDT) (Aboud, 1988). These cognitive changes would account for the inverted U-shape pattern of White children’s racial attitudes, according to which racial biases are typically high until the second grade and then decrease in the following years so that children thus become truly unbiased (Aboud, 1988). Aversive racism framework suggests, in contrast, that after 7–8years children are still biased but that the nature and the expression of their bias have changed from blatant to subtle.

As the goals of most subsequent research on the developmental trends of racial bias along childhood were to illuminate these contradictory approaches, rather than assuming age as a continuous variable, the same age groups used by the CDT were used in most experimental sampling (e.g., Dunham, Baron & Banaji, 2008; Feddes, Noack, & Rutland, 2009; McGlothlin et al., 2005; McGlothlin & Killen, 2010; Monteiro et al., 2009; Nesdale, Maass, Durkin & Griffiths, 2005; Raabe, & Beelmann, 2011; Rutland et al., 2005). Although in more recent studies, conducted in racially integrated schools, Aboud, Mendelson and Purdy (2003) have observed a reduction in the number of older White children’s cross-race friendships, the evidence remains contradictory, because, in an even more recent study, this result was not supported (Aboud & Sakar, 2007).

Our research is intended to help reconcile the existing divergent perspectives on the course of intergroup prejudice in childhood by showing the interplay among age-related developmental findings (Aboud, 1988; Killen et al., 2010; Rodrigues, 2012), aversive racism assumptions (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2004) and the regulation of intergroup relations through social norms (Monteiro et al., 2009; Rutland, 2004) on early subtle manifestations associated with aversive racism. In sum, we investigated the role of the anti-prejudice norm on White children’s overt and covert expressions of racism in two studies. We predicted that age would moderate the effect of normative pressure (justified/unjustified; public/private contexts) on children’s intergroup responses.


The overall aim of this study was to determine the effect of the salience of different normative contexts on the development of White children’s racial responses in two age groups. Normative context was operationalized as ‘unjustified intergroup bias’ (White and Black targets’ performance was similar) versus ‘justified intergroup bias’ (White and Black targets’ performance was different). The following hypotheses were tested: (H1) Overall, the White target will be more rewarded than the Black target; (H2) In the unjustified context condition, younger children will reward the White target more than the Black one, whereas older children will reward both targets similarly; differently, in the justified context condition, both younger and older children will reward the White target more than the Black one.



A total of 82 White children, (42 female and 40 male) took part in the study and were assigned to two age groups: 5–7years (45.1%) and 8–10years (54.9%). Children’s mean ages by gender were similar, F(1,80), p<1, ns; Mmale =7.63, SD=1.59; Mfem =7.76, SD=1.76). The sample was extracted from public and private elementary schools of middle-income socio-economic standing in the state of Sergipe.


A full factorial design of 2 (age: 5–7years vs. 8–10years) 2 (target: White vs. Black) 2 (normative context: justifiable vs unjustifiable) was used. The last two factors were withinsubjects. The dependent measure was the mean number of sweets distributed by participants to each target child as a reward for helping the participant in a previous task.

Procedure and Materials

Children were individually interviewed at school after parental consent. Photographs of Black and White children (same-sex as participant) were used as stimulus target children. Four small toy bricks were used in the task and six toy candies as rewarding materials.

The interviewer told each child:

‘Imagine that you want to build a playhouse (for girls) or a garage (for boys), and you need some other children to help you carry the bricks. You have decided to ask two children to help you, saying that you will give them some sweets as a reward.’ Then, the interviewer showed the child the photographs of a Black and a White child together with the number of bricks that each child had carried to help him or her and asked the child to use the sweets to reward the target children for their help. The interviewer was unaware of the hypotheses.

Rewarding behaviour was measured as the average number of sweets given to target children in two contexts: a justifiable (target children’s different performance) and an unjustifiable (target children’s similar performance) context. In the unjustifiable context, the child was asked to allocate the six sweets to the two target children who had carried two bricks each; so, this variable ranged from 0 to 6. In the justifiable context, the child had to reward the two target children in two different performance situations. In one justified context situation, the White target performed better than the Black target (i.e., the White child carried three bricks and the Black child carried one brick). In the other justified context situation, the Black target performed better than the White target (i.e., the Black child carried three bricks and the White child carried one brick). The order of presentation of these situations was randomized. So, although the two situations were different, when taken together, the number of bricks carried by both target children was the same (4–4). The scores of the sweets allocated to each target child in the two justified situations were averaged into a single justified context score so that it also ranged from 0 to 6.

Pre-test of Stimulus Photographs

Pictures used as stimuli were pre-tested regarding skin colour, age, physical appearance and image quality. Eighteen judges (Mage =21.98; SD=5.55) were presented with four pictures (two girls, White and Black; two boys, White and Black). Each picture has been evaluated by nine judges. The pictures were identically evaluated in all the required parameters, except for skin colour: 89% of the judges considered the Black target children to be Black and 11% (one judge) Mulatto. The White target children’s pictures were considered to be White by 100% of the judges.


Children’s Comprehension of the Task

A repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was carried out with participants’ age as between-subjects factors and participants’ reward scores for target children carrying 1, 2 or 3 bricks as within-subjects factors. The results showed a main effect of the number of bricks the target child carried on reward, F(2,80) = 68.94, p<.001. There were no main effects of age F(1,80)=1.80, p=.183, and the interaction between participants’ reward scores and age was not significant, F (2,80)<1, p=.915. A paired-sample t-test was performed to verify differences between participants’ reward scores. Results indicated that children indeed used the targets’ performance as a criterion: At both ages, participant children distributed more rewards to the targets who had the best performance (carrying three bricks, M=3.65, SD=0.69) t(81)=6.23, p<.001), than to the targets who had the second best performance (carrying two bricks, M=2.96, SD=0.42) t(81)=8,07, p<.001) as well as to the ones who had the worst performance (carrying one brick, M=2.36, SD=0.56) t(81)=9.70, p=<.001.

Development of Aversive Racism

To control for participants’ gender effects, a preliminary repeatedmeasures ANOVA was carried out with children’s gender as a between-subjects factor and the justified/unjustified contexts and target’s ethnic group as within-subjects factors. The reward scores were the dependent variable. As there were no effects of gender, F(1,80) <1, p=.913, participants’ gender was dropped from subsequent analyses.

The hypotheses were then tested with a full factorial ANOVA design with children’s age from 5 to 7 versus from 8 to 10 as the between-subjects factor and target children’s ethnic group (Black/White) and justification context (justified/ unjustified) as within-subjects factors.

The dependent variable was the number of candies given to each target child in the equal performance (unjustified bias) condition and the mean score of candies given to each target child in the unequal performance (justified bias) condition. The results showed a main effect of the target, F(1,80) = 9.93, p<.002. This effect means, according to H1, that, overall, the Black target received a lower reward (M=2.92, SD=0.28) than the White target (M=3.13, SD=0.37). There were no main effects of the context F(1,80)=0.852, p=.359. Besides, there was no interaction effect between age and target group F(1,80) = 0.303, p= .361, or among the target group and the context F(1,80) <1, p= .780, or between age and context F(1,80) <1, p= .624. However, there was a three-way interaction among age, target and context, F(1,80)=4.52, p<.037.

To interpret this three-way interaction, we analysed each two-way interaction separately for the unjustified and the justified conditions. Thus, to evaluate H2, we examined the effects of age and ethnic group separately for the unjustified and the justified conditions. For the unjustified condition, the age x ethnic group interaction was significant F(1,81)=0.452, p=.037. Planned comparisons were performed to compare the allocation of reward to White and Black targets within each age group. Results indicated that younger participants targets rewarded the Black target less (M=2.84; SD=0.47) than the White target, (M=3.24; SD=0.54), t(36)=2.58, p=.014, whereas older participants allocated similar rewards to both target children (MB=2.98, SD=0.14; MW=3.02, SD=0.14), t (44)=1.0, p=.323. For the justified condition, the age x ethnic group interaction was not significant F(1,83)=0.537, p=.466. Planned comparisons showed that younger children allocated similar rewards to both target children (MB=2.98, SD=0.38; MW=3.12, SD=0.49), t(36)=1.07, p=.322, whereas older children rewarded the White target more than the Black target (MW=3.16, SD=0.58; MB=2.90, SD=0.37), t(45)=2.02, p<.049 (Figure 1). These results partially confirmed our second hypothesis: Indeed, younger participants’ egalitarian rewarding behaviour was not expected in either context condition.


This study aimed to test the main assumption of the Aversive Racism Theory (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986) that even when normative guidelines are clear, White people may resort to non-racial factors to justify a negative response in relation to Blacks (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2000) and extend this test to the developmental domain. As predicted, overall White participant children displayed racially biased behaviours. However, this result depended on children’s age and the normative context condition. Whereas younger children rewarded the Black target less than the White one in the unjustified, but not in the justified context, older children, as expected, displayed similar rewards to both targets in the unjustified equalperformance condition, but went on rewarding the White target more than the Black one in the justified unequalperformance condition. In other words, racial prejudiced behaviour was not typically reduced in older children; instead, even when social normative guidelines were clear, older children could resort to a non-racial factor (equal versus seemingly unequal targets’ performance) to justify a higher reward to White children.

Figure 1. Mean scores of rewards allocated to Black and White target children by age group and justification contexts

In sum, results were consistent with hypotheses for older children, as they only displayed indirect aversive racism when supported by a context in which that behaviour could be normatively justified. Regarding younger children, results did not show the expected consistency and need further consideration. Study 2, which also tested bias for this age group, examined the replicability of this unanticipated finding.

As Gaertner and Dovidio’s classical studies on aversive prejudice have shown (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2000; Gaertner, 1973; Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986) indirect expressions of racism can be displayed not only in contexts that can normatively justify intergroup biased attitudes and behaviours, but also incontexts where an anti-prejudice normis not clearly definedor salient. Study 2 addressed this context condition by experimentally analysing the emergence of White children’s indirect expressions of prejudice against the Black social minority in a context where an anti-racism normative pressure was neither clearly defined nor explicitly salient.


This study intended to further address the developmental course of aversive racism expressions in childhood by using helping behaviour in a high versus low normative context. In line with Crandall and Eshleman’s (2003) justification– suppression model, social norms can also be used as justifications to suppress prejudice expression. Indeed, in situations in which the normative structure is weak or when the guidelines for appropriate behaviour are unclear, aversive racists tend to adopt justifications that discriminate (Pearson et al., 2009). Helping behaviour has been used in aversive racism research with adults (e.g., Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986), but there is limited research using it with children (McGillicuddy-De Lisi, Daly & Neal, 2006).

Regarding the effect of context normative salience to decrease racially biased behaviours, there is evidence that the mere presence of other people in a research situation can elicit more egalitarian answers among participants (e.g., Castelli, & Tomelleri, 2008; Monteiro et al., 2009). Based on their studies, Castelli and Tomelleri (2008) concluded that the presence of other individuals decreases the prejudiced actions due to the operation of egalitarian social norms. In a different vein, McConahay, Hardee and Batts (1981) manipulated social norms by varying the race of the experimenter who was present and examined the expression of bias expressed against Black people in that context. They found that the presence of a Black woman experimenter, which presumably made anti-racist norms salient, decreased discriminatory responses against Black people in general. In Study 2, we similarly manipulated the salience of anti-racist norms by the presence or absence of a Black experimenter.

In this study, we predicted that (H1), overall, the White target child will receive more help than the Black target child, and (H2), younger children will help White children more than Black children even when the interviewer is present, whereas older children will help White and Black children similarly when the researcher is present but will help the White child more when the interviewer is absent.



A total of 71 White male elementary school children aged 5 to 10years old took part in the study and were assigned to two age groups: 5–7years (42%, Mage =07.06, SD=0.9) 8–10years (58%, Mage =8.9, SD=0.7). The sample was extracted from public and private elementary schools of middle-income socioeconomic standing in the State of Sergipe.


A full factorial design of 2 (participants’ age: 5–7years vs. 8–10years) 2 (anti-racism norm salience: the researcher is present vs. absent) 2 (target: White vs. Black) was used. The last factor was within-subjects. The dependent measure was children’s helping behaviour, measured as the mean number of 1-Real (Brazilian currency=0.49 USA$) play-money notes distributed by participants to each target child (varying from 0 to 13).


Children were individually interviewed at school, after parental consent. Photographs of Black and White target children were the same as used in Study 1. A total of 13 1-Real toy notes were used in the helping task.

A Black female interviewer told participants:

‘I’ll tell you about two boys who want to buy bicycles. Each of them wants his own bike. I decided to help them by asking children in this school for a donation. In order to contribute you just have to put that money into those moneyboxes’ (the interviewer displayed two locked moneyboxes and 13 1-Real toy notes on the table). ‘Look! Other children have already contributed’. To illustrate her statement, the interviewer shook the moneyboxes to make a money-like noise. ‘You give as much money as you want and the way you want to. The money you put into each box will become real money and will be given later to the two boys’. Some participants kept some toy notes for themselves, so the sum of the mean scores (Table 1) did not amount to 13. A total of 29 children (40.9%) kept toy notes for themselves: 13 (18,3%) in the low norm salience and 16 (22,6%) in the high norm salience condition kept 1 to 7 notes for themselves (X2 = 6.86, df= 4; p>.1; n= 29).

On one of the money-boxes there was the picture of a Black boy and on the other there was the picture of a White boy. Locks were used to reinforce the idea that other children had already contributed and to offer the child a sense of confidentiality.

The salience of the anti-racism norm was operationalized through the presence (high anti-racism norm salience) versus the absence (low anti-racism norm salience) of the interviewer. In the high anti-racism norm salience condition, the interviewer stayed next to the child during the entire interviewing session. In the low anti-racism norm salience condition, the interviewer left the room after giving the instructions (in order ‘to drink some water’), and the child accomplished the task alone.

Check for Children’s Arithmetic Ability

A pre-test was developed to assess children’s arithmetic ability, which consisted of equally dividing 10 1-Real notes between two children represented on cards of approximately 1215cm, in which gender or skin colour characteristics could not be differentiated. A total of 20 children of both age groups correctly performed this task.


To prepare the data for subsequent analyses, extreme values in both experimental conditions (higher than three standard deviations) were replaced by mean values (one outlier in each target group condition). Data were submitted to repeated-measures ANOVA with participants’ age and the interviewer’s presence versus absence as betweensubjects variables and the target (White versus Black) as the within-subjects variable. The dependent variable was the money (number of notes) allocated by participants to each target child.

Table 1. Mean scores of rewards allocated to Black and White target children by age group and anti-racism norm salience (N=71)

Target child 5 to 7years 8 to 10years 5 to 7years 8 to 10years Total

White 5.68(1.37) 6.47(0.84) 6.64(1.02) 5.50(1.06) 5.98(1.17)

Black 5.49(0.88) 5.88(1.10) 5.91(0.83) 5.90(1.34) 5.81(1.08)

Figure 2. Mean scores of money allocated to Black and White target children by age group and anti-racism norm salience

Results showed a marginal main effect of the target, F(1,67) = 3.19, p = .07. The Black child was given less money (M = 5.81; SD = 1.08) compared with the White target (M = 5.98; SD = 1.17) (Table 1). These results confirmed our first hypothesis. There was no interaction effect among participants’ age and target F(1,67) = 1.2, p= .277, or between target and the interviewer’s presence versus her absence conditions F(1,67) <1, p= .527. According to H2, the target effect was qualified by a triple interaction effect of target x interviewer presence versus absence x participants’ age, F (1,67) = 8.35, p= .005 (Figure 2).

We examined the effects of age and ethnic group separately for the interviewer presence versus absence conditions. For the interviewer’s absence condition, the age x ethnic group interaction was not significant F(1,37)=2.25, p=.142. Planned comparisons indicated that younger participants allocated similar rewards to both target children (MB=5.49; SD=0.88) and (MW=6.68; SD=1.37), t(18)=0.399, p=.695, whereas older participants allocated less rewards to the Black target child (MB=5.88, SD=1.10) than to the White one (MW=6.47;

SD=0.84), t(18)=2.33, p=.031. For the interviewer’s presence condition, the age x ethnic group interaction was significant F(1,32) = 5.85, p= .022. Planned comparisons showed that younger children attributed less money to the Black (MB = 5.91; SD = 0.83) than to the White target (MW = 6.64, SD = 1.02), t(10) = 2.18, p=.054, whereas older children gave similar money for the Black (MB=5.90; SD=1.34) and the White target (MW=5.50; 1.06), t(21) 1.40, p=.174. A post-hoc test indicated that in the interviewer’s absence context, older children discriminated against the Black target, whereas in the interviewer’s presence context, only younger children did so (Student–Newman–Keuls, p<.05) (Table 1).


This study intended to verify the influence of the anti-racism norm salience on the development of aversive intergroup behaviours in childhood. As in other studies (e.g., Castelli, & Tomelleri, 2008; McConahay, Hardee & Batts, 1981), the salience of anti-racism norm was operationalized by the presence or absence of an interviewer in the assessment situation. The presence of a Black interviewer made the anti-racism norm salient and her absence, by instigating the children to work covertly, created an encouraging non-normative context for displaying a racially prejudiced intergroup behaviour.

As predicted, this was the case only for older children, suggesting the interplay between cognitive development and context normative conditions in the regulation of older children’s prejudiced behaviour (Rutland, 2004). Furthermore, results displayed by older children suggest another form of indirect prejudiced behaviour, similar to the positive-negative asymmetry effect (Mummendey & Otten, 1998), since they allocated the same money to the Black target in both normative salience conditions, while searching for the White target’s positive distinctiveness when the norm was not salient (‘do not give less to the outgroup, but more to the in-group’, Gaertner & Dovidio, 1977).


Studies presented here aimed to strengthen the assumptions of the theory of aversive racism and to extend its scope to the development of modern expressions of racial prejudice in White children. As expected, we found evidence for this phenomenon in older children in the two conditions set by the theory: In contexts that could justify racial prejudice and in contexts with a low salience of the anti-racism norm (Pearson et al., 2009). Study 1 showed that older children expressed indirect racial prejudice in the target’s seemingly unequal performance context, unrelated to the targets’ ethnicity, which could justify a different rewarding behaviour to the Black and the White children. In Study 2, the same indirect racial prejudice occurred when the interviewer was absent, that is, when the anti-racism norm was not salient. In line with the social-normative approach, these findings support previous studies showing that expressions of prejudice in middle childhood become more complex and context-contingent, quite similar to those of adults, as it has also been shown with implicit measures (e.g., Baron & Banaji, 2006) and with children’s accountability to in-group members (Rodrigues, 2012; Rutland et al., 2005).

These results support the extension of the social-normative model (Crandall & Eshleman, 2003; Monteiro et al., 2009; Rutland et al., 2005), and of the aversive racism theory (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986) to child development studies: Older White children do not reject prejudicedattitudes as their cognitive skills develop (as sustained by the CDT). Instead, they learn to suppress explicit racial prejudice that is prohibited by the prevailing in-group norms, as well as to express it through indirect or veiled attitudes and behaviours that protect them from selfblame, reprimand or punishment, namely when a non-racial justification isavailable or whena normativeanti-prejudicepressure is absent. Moreover, older children’s ability to manage the use of social norms according to contextual demands seems to be the critical socio-cognitive new skill that directly accounts for the emergence of more concealed and aversive expressions of racial prejudice in middle childhood.

These conclusions match those of Raabe and Beelmann’s (2011) meta-analysis on the development of ethnic, racial and national prejudice in childhood. The authors found that the decrease in prejudice in middle childhood presented in many studies could be due to the use of explicit measures, since no age-related changes occurred with implicit or indirect measurement; and this would happen because at that age ‘children start to control their prejudiced responses (…) and consciously evaluate different social groups equally in line with social norms of equality’ (p. 1730–1731). Importantly, in that meta-analysis age-related changes only occurred with explicit measures, meaning that the interplay between cognitive development and normative pressure can account, not directly for blatant/aversive responses, but for older children’s new ability to deal with socio-conventional situation-contingent norms (Kohlberg, 1963; Turiel, 1983).

An important issue originates from younger children’s pattern of results in Study 1. In line with the developmental rationale and with most previous research, we expected that they would display prejudiced behaviours regardless of the presence of a non-racial justification or the salience of an antiprejudice norm. Results partially contradicted this hypothesis, as younger children discriminated against the Black target in the unjustifiable context and did not discriminate in the justifiable context. However, in the Study 2, younger childrendiscriminated against the Black target in both contexts. One simple cause for the results of Study 1 can be the extent to which younger children were able to understand the indirect operationalization we used for the justifiable/unjustifiable context, as well as for the high/low salience of the anti-racism norm. We can wonder whether younger children faced a more complex decision, either cognitively (rewarding a Black and a White child in two symmetrical conditions) or morally (helping a Black and a White child privately) became puzzled by these tasks and chose egalitarian allocations, as the simplest solution. In the same vein, when analyzing the use of distributive justice in children, Damon (1977) noted that around six years old children mainly used the principle of equality in their assessments, while around nine or ten years they mainly adopted the principles of merit and reciprocity. Future research might address this issue using the paradigm of the dictator game, as did Bolton, Katok and Zwick (1998).

It is important to note the role of the interviewer as a representative of the anti-racism norm. Although in our study, we used out-group members as interviewers, other studies have found that the presence of in-group members can also activate the egalitarian norm (e.g., Castelli & Tomelleri, 2008; Monteiro et al., 2009; Rutland et al., 2005) and decrease the expression of racial prejudice. So, the anti-racism norm salience may have been more triggered by the participant child versus the adult interviewer than by the in-group/outgroup (Black versus White) interviewer’s categorization. Future studies should also address this issue.

Finally, in our view, these results intend to be a valuable contribution for the understanding of the racism problem in a context of a singular anti-racism norm, in a culture of miscegenation where contact among racial groups is usual and formal segregation is not acknowledged. We think that studies in different cultural contexts will illuminate future research about the relation between racism and social norms.


This article was partly completed with the assistance of two research grants: one from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), of the Portuguese Ministry of Higher Education and Science, under the project ‘Social and cognitive factors of social identity construction and management in inter-ethnic relations: A developmental approach’, ref. POCTI/ PSI/41970/2001 and one from the Brazilian Agency for the Coordination of the Advanced Training of Higher Education personnel (CAPES). We thank the Brazilian children who participated in this research and the teachers and principals who allowed us to conduct the studies in their schools. We are also grateful to the very helpful comments of reviewers on earlier versions of this article. Part of the results of this research has been published in Portuguese in the work of França and Monteiro (2004).


Aboud, F. E. (2005). The development of prejudice in childhood and adolescence. In J. F. Dovidio, P. Glick, & L. Rudman (Eds.), On the nature of prejudice: Fifty years after Allport (pp. 310–326). Oxford, Blackwell. publisher.

Aboud, F. E. (1988). Children & Prejudice. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Aboud, F. E., & Sakar, J. (2007). Friendship and identity in a language-integrated school. Int. ernational Journal of Behavioral Development, 31(5), 445–453.

Aboud, F. E., Mendelson, M. J., & Purdy, K. T. (2003). Cross-race peer relations and friendship quality. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 27(2), 165–173.

Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, Massachussets: Addison-Wesley.

Baron, A. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2006). The development of implicit attitudes: Evidence ofraceevaluations fromages6 and 10 and adulthood. Psychological Science, 17, 53–58.

Bolton, G. E., Katok, E., & Zwick, R. (1998). Dictator Game Giving: Rules of Fairness versus Acts of Kindness. International Journal of Game Theory, 27 (2). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=137162

Castelli, L. & Tomelleri, S. (2008). Contextual effects on prejudiced attitudes: When the presence of others leads to more egalitarian responses. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 679–686.

Cohen, E. G. (1980). Design and redesign of the desegregated school: Problems of status, power, and conflict. In W. G. Stephan & J. R. Feagin (Eds.), School desegregation: Past, present and future (pp. 251–78). New York: Plenum.

Crandall, C. S., & Eshleman, A. (2003). A justification-suppression model of the expression and experience of prejudice. Psychological Bulletin, 129 (3), 414–446.

Crandall, C. S., Eshleman, A., & O’Brien, L. (2002). Social norms and the expression and suppression of prejudice: The struggle for internalization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82 (3), 359–378.

Damon, W. (1977). The Social World of the Child. San Francisco:


Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2000). Aversive racism and selection decisions: 1989 and 1999. Psychological Science, 11, 319–323. Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2004). Aversive racism. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 36, 1–51. California: Academic Press.

Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (1998). On the nature of contemporary prejudice: The causes, consequences, and challenges of aversive racism. In J. L. Eberhardt & S. T. Fiske (Eds.), Confronting racism: The problem and the responses (pp. 3–32). California: Sage Publications.

Doyle, A. B., & Aboud F. E. (1995). A longitudinal study of white children’s racial prejudice as a social-cognitive development. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 41, 209–228.

Dunham, Y., Baron, A. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2008). The development of implicit intergroup cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12(7), 248–253

Feddes, A., Noack, P. & Rutland, A. (2009). Direct and extended friendship effects on minority and majority children’s interethnic attitudes: A longitudinal study. Child Development, 80, 377–390.

Fitzroy, S., & Rutland, A. (2010). Learning to control ethnic intergroup bias in childhood. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 679–693.

França, D. X., & Lima, M. E. O. (2011). Affirmative action and ethnic identity in black and indigenous Brazilian children. International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 5(1), 200–210.

França, D. X., & Monteiro, M. B. (2004). A expressão das formas indirectas de racismo na infância. (The expression of indirect forms of racism in childhood). Análise Psicológica, 4(XXII), 705–720.

Gaertner, S. L. (1973). Helping behavior and racial discrimination among Liberals and Conservatives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 25(3), 335–341.

Gaertner, S. L., & Dovidio, J. F. (1986). The aversive form of racism. In J. F. Dovidio, & S. L. Gaerner (Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination, and racism: Theory and research (61–89). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.

Gaertner, S. L., & Dovidio, J. F. (1977). The subtlety of White racism, arousal, and helping behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 691–707.

Greenwald, A. G., McGhee, D. E., & Schwarz, L. K. (1998). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The Implicit Association Test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(6), 1464–1480.

Jost, J. T., Banaji, M. R., & Nosek, B. A. (2004). A Decade of System Justification Theory: Accumulated evidence of conscious and unconscious bolstering of the status quo. Political Psychology, 25(6), 20.

Katz, I., & Hass, R. G. (1988). Racial ambivalence and American value conflict: Correlational and priming studies of dual cognitive structures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55 (6), 893–905.

Khmelkov. V. T., &, Hallinan, M. T. (1999). Organizational effects on race relations in schools. Journal of Social Issues, 55(4), 627–645.

Killen, M., McGlothlin, H., & Henning, A. (2010). Explicit judgments and implicit bias: A developmental perspective. In S. R. Levy & M. Killen (Eds.), Intergroup attitudes and relations in childhood through adulthood (pp. 126–145). NY, USA: Oxford University Press.

Kinder, D. R., & Sears, D. O. (1981). Prejudice and politics: Symbolic racism versus racial threats to the good life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, 414–431.

Kohlberg, L. (1963).The development of children’s orientations toward a moral order I: Sequence in the development of moral order. Vita Humana, 6, 11–33. Lima, M. E. O. (2007). Review essay: Racial relations and racism in Brazil: Telles, Edward Eric, Race in another America: The significance of skin color in Brazil. Culture & Psychology , 13(4), 461–473.

Lima, M., & Vala, J. (2002). Individualismo meritocrático, diferenciação cultural e racismo (Individual meritocracy, cultural differentiation and racism). Análise Social, 28, 181–207.

McConahay, J. B., & Hough, J. C. (1976). Symbolic racism. Journal of Social Issues, 32, 23–45.

McConahay, J. B., Hardee, B. B., & Batts, V. (1981). Has racism declined in America? It depends upon who is asking and what is asked. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 25, 563–579.

McGillicuddy-De Lisi, A.V., Daly, M., & Neal, A. (2006). Children’s distributive justice judgments: Aversive racism in Euro-American children? Child Development, 77(4), 1063–80.

McGlothlin, H., & Killen, M. (2010). How social experience is related to children’s intergroup attitudes. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 625–634.

McGlothlin, H., Killen, M., & Edmonds, C. (2005). European-American children’s intergroup attitudes about peer relationships. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 23, 227–249.

Monteiro, M. B., França, D. X., & Rodrigues, R. (2009). The development of ingroup bias in childhood: How social norms can shape children’s racial behaviours. International Journal of Psychology, 44, 29–39.

Mummendey, A., & Otten, S. (1998). Positive-negative asymmetry in social discrimination. European Review of Social Psychology, 9, 107–143.

Nesdale, D., Maass, A., Durkin, K., & Griffiths, J. (2005). Group norms, threat, and children’s racial prejudice. Child Development, 76(3), 652–663.

Pearson, A. R., Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2009). The nature of contemporary prejudice: Insights from aversive racism. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 3, 3–25.

Pereira, C., Vala, J., & Costa-Lopes, R. (2010). From prejudice to discrimination: The legitimizing role of perceived threat in discrimination against immigrants. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(7), 1231–1250. Pettigrew, T. F., & Meertens, R. W. (1995). Subtle and blatant prejudice in Western Europe. European Journal of Social Psychology, 25, 57–75.

Raabe, T., & Beelmann, A. (2011). Development of ethnic, racial and national prejudice in childhood and adolescence: A multinational meta-analysis of age differences. Child Development, 82, 1715–1737.

Rodrigues, R. B. (2012). Conflicting social norms and White children’s expressions of intergroup racial attitudes: A socio-normative developmental model. Ph. D. Thesis in Social Psychology. Lisboa: ISCTE.

Rutland, A. (2004). The development and self-regulation of intergroup attitudes in children. In M. Bennett & F. Sani (Eds.), The development of the social self (pp. 247–265). East Sussex, England: Psychology Press.

Rutland, A., Cameron, L., Milne, A., & McGeorge, P. (2005). Social norms and self-presentation: Children’s implicit and explicit intergroup attitudes. Child Development, 76, 451–466.

Rutland, A., Killen, M., & Abrams, D. (2010). A new social-cognitive developmental perspective on prejudice: The interplay between morality and group identity. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(3), 279–291.

Schofield, J. W. (1989). Black and White in School: Trust, tension or tolerance? New York: Teachers College Press.

Turiel, E. (1983). The development of social knowledge. morality and convention. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Turra, C., & Venturi, G. (1995). Racismo cordial: A mais completa análise sobre preconceito de cor no Brasil (Cordial racism: The more complete analysis of colour prejudice in Brazil). São Paulo: Ática.

Yee, M. D., & Brown, R. (1992). Self- evaluations and intergroup attitudes in children aged three to nine. Child Development, 63, 619–629.

this is the article and the questions based on the article which i have now uploaded seperately

Last Completed Projects

# topic title discipline academic level pages delivered
Writer's choice
1 hour 32 min
Wise Approach to
2 hours 19 min
1980's and 1990
2 hours 20 min
pick the best topic
2 hours 27 min
finance for leisure
2 hours 36 min