Social Exclusion in Cultural Context: Group Norms, Fairness, and Stereotypes
Hitti, Aline A.
MetadataShow full item record
The current study investigated pre-adolescents' and adolescents' attitudes about social exclusion based on cultural membership, specifically exclusion of individuals from Arab descent. Developmental intergroup research on the Arab cultural identity is sparse, and given this is a group that is highly associated with negative emotionally charged stereotypes in adults, it is important to understand the developmental origins of such attitudes. Questions about the role of stereotypes, cultural identity, shared interest in activities (e.g., hobbies), exclusive and inclusive group norms, and intergroup attributions of emotions in exclusion contexts were addressed. To answer these questions non-Arab American 12- and 16-year-olds (<italic>N</italic> =199) evaluated situations in which their own group and an Arab American group of peers made decisions about inclusion and exclusion. These decisions were about a cultural ingroup target with different interests in activities or a cultural outgroup target with the same interests in activities. Findings indicated that participants expected the Arab American group would make inclusion decisions based on the cultural identity of the target (a preference for cultural identity over shared interests) in contrast to their own non-Arab American group, which they expected would make decisions based on shared interest in activities (a preference for shared activities over cultural identity). This finding was perpetuated in groups that had exclusive group norms. Sixteen year-olds were less inclusive toward an outgroup member than 12-year-olds and participants who reported stereotypes about Arabs were also less inclusive toward an outgroup target. Different emotions were attributed to an Arab American group that excluded a target compared with an American group, evidencing more empathic attributions to participants' ingroup (American group). Findings from this study inform intergroup developmental research on the role of stereotypes, and the interplay of cognition and emotions, in pre-adolescents' and adolescents' social decision-making in cross-cultural interactions. Results of this study have implications for developing interventions that foster positive intergroup peer relationships.