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"Foreign forever?" Exploring young children's essentialist beliefs about foreign-accented individuals

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Title:"Foreign forever?" Exploring young children's essentialist beliefs about foreign-accented individuals
Authors:Tai, Christine
Contributors:Pauker, Kristin (advisor)
Psychology (department)
Keywords:Developmental psychology
Social psychology
Foreign accents
show 2 moreLinguistic prejudice
Social Status
show less
Date Issued:2019
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:Immigrants are often discriminated against in the United States and are seen as lower in status compared to native-born individuals. A reason for this enduring discrimination could be due to the way they speak, as a foreign accent is a salient characteristic of an immigrant and is often the basis of discrimination (e.g., linguistic prejudice). As immigration continues to grow at rapid rates in the United States, researchers are keen to understand the underpinnings and the origins of these negative attitudes. Psychological essentialism, the cognitive bias to view members of a category as sharing an underlying essence that is stable and immutable, has been linked to negative out-group attitudes through the endorsement of status hierarchies. The present study examined whether children develop essentialist beliefs about their foreign-accented peers and how these beliefs related to their social preferences for foreign- or native-accented individuals. In addition, perceptions of the social status of accented individuals were also examined as a potential mediator of this relation. Results indicate that although 4- to 5-year-old children have low essentialist beliefs about accents with regard to stability (believing that accents can be changed across time and environment), 5-year-olds show a trend toward believing that accents are natural kinds and create distinct boundaries. In addition, although essentialism was not related to social preferences, participants’ perceptions of the social status of foreign-accented
adults were associated with their social preference, such that participants who rated native-accented adult speakers higher in status also showed greater preferences for native-accented speakers. The results from this study have implications for mechanisms that may lead to the development of negative attitudes toward foreign-accented individuals, and by extension enduring discrimination toward immigrants.
Description:M.A. Thesis. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2019
Pages/Duration:45 pages
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Psychology

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