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From mind to mind: Investigating the cultural transmission of intergroup bias in children

Objective

Prejudice and discrimination are pressing social problems. Across Europe, the far right is on the rise, and individuals are often discriminated against on the basis of their race, gender or sexual orientation. The origins of these problematic attitudes and behaviours appear early in development, suggesting that we are passing on our biases to our children. Yet, our knowledge of the complex psychological processes by which these biases are learned remains rudimentary. MINDTOMIND experimentally investigates how children encode, select and transmit biased social information, and so provides a framework for understanding how intergroup attitudes are perpetuated across generations.
Until now, artificial boundaries between different areas of psychology have prevented theoretical and empirical progress on this important subject. MINDTOMIND synthesizes cutting-edge research on cognitive development and experimental research on cultural transmission and intergroup psychology in order to provide a comprehensive account of this process.
The series of experiments to test the proposed framework will answer three key questions. First, how do children respond to biased information they receive from others? Second, how do children select which social information to consume? Third, how do children transmit biased information to others in their social networks?
MINDTOMIND will examine how learning, social motivation and cognitive biases interact to produce prejudice and discrimination. It will demonstrate how negative intergroup attitudes can emerge, become radicalised and spread through children’s social networks. In doing so, it will provide a step-change in our understanding of social cognitive development. In addition to far-reaching theoretical implications, this work will have broad societal implications. It will pave the way towards the development of research-led interventions that can reduce intergroup bias and thus contribute to a fairer and more egalitarian society.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/sociology/social problems/ageism
  • /social sciences/psychology

Call for proposal

ERC-2017-STG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-STG - Starting Grant
Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Host institution

UNIVERSITY OF YORK
Address
Heslington
YO10 5DD York North Yorkshire
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 223 054

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSITY OF YORK
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 223 054
Address
Heslington
YO10 5DD York North Yorkshire
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments