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028: How do children form social groups?

This episode is part of a series on understanding the intersection of race, privilege, and parenting.  Click here to view all the items in this series.


How social groups are formed has profound implications for what we teach our children about our culture.

Professor Yarrow Dunham of Yale University tells us how we all group people in our heads according to criteria that we think are important – in many cases it’s a valuable tool that allows us to focus our mental energy. But when we look at ideas like race and gender, we see that we tend to classify people into these groups based on criteria that may not actually be useful at all.

This episode will shed further light on Episode 6, “Wait, is my toddler racist?” and will lay the groundwork for us to study groupings based on gender in an upcoming episode.

References

Baron, A.S. & Dunham, Y. (2015). Representing “Us” and “Them”: Building blocks of intergroup cognition. Journal of Cognition and Development 16(5), 780-801. DOI: 10.1080/15248372.2014.1000459

Baron, A.S., Dunham, Y., Banaji, M., & Carey, S. (2014). Constraints on the acquisition of social category concepts. Journal of Cognition and Development 15(2), 238-268. DOI: 10.1080/15248372.2012.742902

Dunham, Y., Baron, A.S., & Carey, S. (2011). Consequences of “minimal” group affiliations in children. Child Development 82(3), 793-811. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01577.x

Dunham, Y., Chen, E.E., & Banaji, M.R. (2013). Two signatures of implicit intergroup attitudes: Developmental invariance and early enculturation. Psychological Science Online First. DOI: 10.1177/0956797612463081

Dunham, Y., Stepanova, E.V., Dotsch, R., & Todorov, A. (2015). The development of race-based perceptual categorization: Skin color dominates early category judgments. Developmental Science 18(3), 469-483. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12228

Rhodes, M., Leslie, S-J, Saunders, K., Dunham, Y., & Cimpian, A. (In Press). How does social essentialism affect the development of inter-group relations? Developmental Science. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306482087_How_does_social_essentialism_affect_the_development_of_inter-group_relations

Richter, N., Over, H., & Dunham, Y. (2016). The effects of minimal group membership on young preschoolers’ social preferences, estimates of similarity, and behavioral attribution. Collabra 2(1), p.1-8. DOI: : 10.1525/collabra.44

 




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About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

Her Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership group supports parents in putting the research into action in their real lives, with their real families. Find more info at www.YourParentingMojo.com/Membership

She also launched the most comprehensive course available to help parents decide whether homeschooling could be right for their family. Find out more about it – and take a free seven-question quiz to get a personalized assessment of your own homeschooling readiness at www.YourHomeschoolingMojo.com

And for parents who are committed to public school but recognize the limitations in that system, she has a course to help support children's learning in school at https://jenlumanlan.teachable.com/p/school

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