Children’s Helping Behavior in an Ethnic Intergroup Context: Evidence for Outgroup Helping

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Two studies examined when and why children (10–13 years) help ethnic in-group and out-group peers. In Study 1 (n = 163) children could help an out-group or in-group peer with a word-guessing game by entering codes into a computer. While children evaluated the out-group more negatively than the in-group, they helped out-group peers more than in-group peers. Study 2 (n = 117) conceptually replicated the findings of Study 1. Additionally the results suggest that when children endorsed the stereotype that the out-group is “less smart,” this increased their intention to help out-group peers and it decreased their intention to enter codes for in-group peers. The results suggest that the specific content of a negative stereotype can guide helping responses toward out-group and in-group members.

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