Preference for high status predicts implicit outgroup bias among children from low-status groups.Dev Psychol 2014; 50(4):1081-90DP
Whereas members of high-status racial groups show ingroup preference when attitudes are measured implicitly, members of low-status racial groups--both adults and children--typically show no bias, potentially reflecting awareness of the ingroup's low status. We hypothesized that when status differences are especially pronounced, children from low-status groups would show an implicit outgroup bias, the strength of which might relate to attitudes toward status. We tested these predictions among 6- to 11-year-old Black and Coloured (i.e., multiracial) children from South Africa, a country marked by extreme status differentials among racial groups. As a measure of implicit intergroup bias, children (N = 78) completed an Implicit Association Test (IAT), a speeded categorization task that assesses the relative strength of association between 2 target groups (in the present study, either Whites vs. Blacks or Whites vs. Coloureds) and positive vs. negative evaluation. Children also completed explicit (i.e., self-report) measures of attitudes toward racial groups as well as toward rich and poor people (a measure of attitudes toward status). Both groups of children showed an implicit outgroup-favoring (i.e., pro-White) bias, suggesting that children were sensitive to the extent of status differences. The only instance in which implicit pro-White bias did not emerge involved Black children's evaluations of Whites vs. Coloureds, both higher-status outgroups. Explicit preference for high status predicted implicit pro-White bias, particularly when the IAT contrasted 2 outgroups. The impact of status on the development of implicit and explicit intergroup bias is discussed.