Various studies have indicated that children’s preferences are biased towards those who have more resources or who are considered more fortunate than others. Little is known, however, about whether this preference translates to a moral assessment of the character of those with more or less resources. Our study included 46 children aged four to five. We asked participants to indicate their preference for the richer and the poorer in desirable resources. We also asked them to attribute the moral character of the moral agent or moral recipient. The children revealed a strong bias towards the advantaged character. Not only did they prefer him as a future friend, they also attributed morally positive social roles to him.
The text deals with the counterfactual thinking of preschool children. The theoretical justification for the research can be found in the nativist concepts of Alan Leslie and Alison Gopnik, which assumes that even very young children have a natural ability to accept the strangest creations of the imagination and to connect them together into one amazing whole. During the research, recognizing children’s metaphorical meanings required me to act as an interpretively involved observer-as-participant. In doing so, educational interventions enabled me to be situated within the observed phenomena, in close relationship with the children being studied. The observation, meanwhile, embraced the spontaneous activities of the children engaged in symbolic playing and the effect of these activities (mainly artistic concretizations). The liberation of counterfactual thinking in preschoolers being induced with literary texts. The collected material has allowed me to draw conclusions applicable to educational practice.
Previous research showed that children can exhibit preferences for social categories already at preschool age. One of the crucial factors in the development of children’s attitudes toward others is children’s observation and imitation of adults’ nonverbal messages. The aim of our study is to examine whether children’s tendency to perceive and follow nonverbally expressed attitudes toward other people is related to ingroup bias, i.e. the tendency to favor one’s own group over other groups. We examined 175 preschool children (age in months: 61–87; M = 72.6, SD = 6.53) presenting them with a video of a conversation between a message sender and a message recipient. The study was conducted in a minimal group paradigm. We found that children accurately identified the message sender’s attitude toward the recipient and also generalized this attitude to other members of the new group. We also found explicit ingroup bias among children from the message sender’s group. However, no generalization of the sender’s attitude to other ingroup members was found. The results are discussed in reference to previous findings on the role of imitation of adult’s non-verbal behavior for the development of social attitudes among children.