Children explain in- and out-group behavior differently

Francine Essa, Anika Weinsdörfer, Reut Shilo, Gil Diesendruck, Hannes Rakoczy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Adults manifest a number of attributional biases in explaining the behavior of in- versus out-group members. The present study investigated the developmental origins of such biased explanation. Children from majority and minority populations in Israel, and from majority populations in Germany (N = 165), were asked to explain the behavior of in- and out-group members. Across ages and groups, children more often referred to group membership when explaining an out-group as compared to an in-group member’s behavior; and more often to individual factors when explaining an in-group as compared to an out-group member’s behavior. These findings are consistent with the early emergence of fundamental differences in the conceptualizations of in- and out-group members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-696
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Development
Issue number3
Early online dateJan 2021
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • behavior explanation
  • cross-cultural comparison
  • majority-minority children
  • social categories


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