Discrimination is taught by parents

For young children, being taught prejudiced ideas trumps positive experiences when it comes to attitudes toward other groups of people, a new study finds.

First-graders who are told by an adult that another group of kids is "mean" evaluate that group negatively even if they have a positive interaction with the supposedly mean kids. By fifth grade, however, children rely more on their own experiences with the "mean" kids to make judgments.

The findings could have implications for how schools teach about diversity and prejudice.

"Our work suggests that older children are going to be more influenced by their own experiences, so it's not enough for us to lecture to them about equality and diversity-related issues," study researcher Sonia Kang, a psychologist at the University of Toronto, said in a statement. "We need to help create situations and environments that foster positive experiences among children from all backgrounds."


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