Visit Our Coronavirus (COVID-19)  Resource Section ⇒ X
Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Even Preschoolers Want to Be in the 'In Crowd,' Study Finds

Even Preschoolers Want to Be in the 'In Crowd,' Study Finds

MONDAY, May 31, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- People aren't born understanding social norms, but kids do have a desire to fit in with the crowd from an early age, according to a new study.

Researchers from Duke University in Durham, N.C. found that when 3-year-olds were asked to behave in a certain way and did so, they weren't conforming just to obey an adult, but were going along with the group.

Kids begin to pick up on society's unwritten social rules, such as eating with a fork instead of their hands or covering their cough, when they are very young, according to the study.

Researchers asked 104 preschoolers, age 3 1/2, to help set up a pretend tea party. At the start, they gave each child a blue sticker and told them that people with that color sticker were part of the same team.

Then, researchers watched as the kids made decisions about teas, snacks, cups and plates for the party, first on their own and then after hearing others' choices.

Sometimes other team members framed their choice as a matter of personal preference ("For my tea party today, I feel like using this snack"). Other times, they presented it as a norm shared by the whole group: "For tea parties at Duke, we always use this kind of snack."

After hearing others' choices, kids usually stayed with their first choice. But 23% of the time, they switched to someone else's. When they did, they were more likely to go along when an option was presented as a group norm rather than just a personal preference.

This was true even when the other person was a child, not an adult. Researchers said this suggested that the preschoolers weren't simply acting out of a desire to imitate adults or obey authority.

First author Leon Li, a doctoral student in psychology and neuroscience, is a member of Duke's Tomasello Lab.

He said the findings lend support to an idea proposed by lab director Michael Tomasello, a psychology and neuroscience professor, and colleagues about how kids develop the moral reasoning that sets humans apart from other animals.

When an adult says to an infant or a toddler, "we don't hit," the child generally does as she's told out of deference to that person, according to researchers. Eventually, though, their way of thinking changes. They begin to understand cues such as "we don't hit" as something larger, coming from the group, and act out of a sense of connectedness and shared identity, researchers said.

"Every culture has its do's and don'ts," Li said in a university news release.

The findings were published May 26 in the journal PLOS ONE.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on communicating with your child.

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, May 27, 2021

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Health Tips
Helping Kids Get Over their Fears
Is It Time for Toilet Training?
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Sports and Music: Both Good for Kids
Weight Room No Longer Off-Limits to Kids
When Can a Child Wear Contact Lenses
Quizzes
Child Development Quiz
Diseases & Conditions
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma in Children Index
Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) in Children
Bone Marrow Transplant for Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Discipline
Ewing Sarcoma in Children
Firearms
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) in Children
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Myasthenia Gravis (MG) in Children
Osteosarcoma (Osteogenic Sarcoma) in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries of the Face and Head- Overview
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 1 to 3 Months
The Growing Child: 10 to 12 Months
The Growing Child: 1-Year-Olds
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Growing Child: 4 to 6 Months
The Growing Child: 7 to 9 Months
The Growing Child: Newborn
The Growing Child: Preschool (4 to 5 Years)
The Growing Child: School-Age (6 to 12 Years)
The Heart
The Kidneys
Your Child's Asthma
Your Child's Asthma: Flare-ups

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.