Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Peer Pressure in Preschool Children

25.10.2011
Children as young as four years of age conform their public opinion to the majority

Adults and adolescents often adjust their behaviour and opinions to peer groups, even when they themselves know better.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, Netherlands, studied this phenomenon in four-year-olds and found that preschool children are already subject to peer pressure. In the current study, the researchers found that children conformed their public judgment of a situation to the judgment of a majority of peers in spite better knowledge. (Child Development, October 25, 2011)

Humans do not only conform to arbitrary fashions but also to majority opinion even when they know better. This conformity plays a crucial role in the acquisition of one’s group’s behavioural repertoire. We learn group specific behaviour by observing other group members. When confronted with information that stands in conflict with our own beliefs or preferences, we often succumb to the point of view of the majority.

Daniel Haun of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the MPI for Psycholinguistics and Michael Tomasello of the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology analysed how pre-schoolers handle information that they acquire from peers. A total of 96 four-year-old girls and boys of 24 different kindergarten groups participated in their current study. “We wanted to know whether preschool children conform their opinion to the majority even if the latter is obviously in conflict with their own point of view“, says Daniel Haun.

In the first part of the study the preschoolers were tested in groups of four children each. They received seemingly identical books including 30 double pages with illustrations of animal families. On the left page were mother, father and child together, on the right only one of the three. The children were asked to identify the family member on the right. Yet, while the children believed all books to be the same, only three of the four books were actually identical, the fourth sometimes included the picture of a different family member on the right page. “The child with the divergent book was confronted with the – from his or her point of view – false but unanimous judgment of three peers“, Haun explains. „Out of 24 children 18 conformed at least once although they knew the majority response to be false“.

In a second study, the researchers investigated the motivation underlying children’s conformity. In this study, depending on whether a lamp was on or off, children were supposed to either say their answer out loud or to silently point to the correct animal. Consequently, only the adult observer, but not the other children could see the answer. Of 18 children 12 conformed to the majority at least once, if they had to say the answer out loud. Were they to point silently to the right answer, however, only 8 out of 18 children conformed to the majority judgment. The children thus conformed their public, but not their private, answer to the majority. This indicates that the conformity has social reasons as for example to avoid conflict with their peer group. Daniel Haun summarizes: “The current study shows that children as young as four years of age are subject to peer pressure and that they succumb to it, at least to some extent, out of social motivations”.

Contact:
Dr. Daniel Haun
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Phone: +49 341 3550-815
Email: haun@eva.mpg.de
Sandra Jacob
Press and Public Relations
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Phone: +49 341 3550-122
Fax: +49 341 3550-119
Email: jacob@eva.mpg.de
Publication reference:
Daniel B.M. Haun & Michael Tomasello
Conformity to Peer Pressure in Preschool Children

Barbara Abrell | Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Further information:
http://www.mpg.de/4604573/children_chimpanzees_cooperation
http://www.mpg.de/4376010/collaboration-children-chimpanzees

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>