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Journal Article


Riggs AE, Young AG. Dev. Psychol. 2016; 52(8): 1236-1246.


(Copyright © 2016, American Psychological Association)






What influences children's normative judgments of conventional rules at different points in development? The current study explored the effects of two contextual factors on children's normative reasoning: the way in which the rules were learned and whether the rules apply to the self or others. Peer dyads practiced a novel collaborative board game comprising two complementary roles. Dyads were either taught both the prescriptive (i.e., what to do) and proscriptive (i.e., what not to do) forms of the rules, taught only the prescriptive form of the rules, or created the rules themselves. Children then judged whether third parties were violating or conforming to the rules governing their own roles and their partner's roles. Early school-aged children's (6- to 7-year-olds; N = 60) normative judgments were strongest when they had been taught the rules (with or without the proscriptive form), but were more flexible for rules they created themselves. Preschool-aged children's (4- to 5-year-olds; N = 60) normative judgments, however, were strongest when they were taught both the prescriptive and proscriptive forms of the rules. Additionally, preschoolers exhibited stronger normative judgments when the rules governed their own roles rather than their partner's roles, whereas school-aged children treated all rules as equally normative. These results demonstrate that children's normative reasoning is contingent on contextual factors of the learning environment and, moreover, highlight 2 specific areas in which children's inferences about the normativity of conventions strengthen over development.

Language: en


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