Children's prediction of others’ behavior based on group vs. individual properties

Reut Shilo, Anika Weinsdörfer, Hannes Rakoczy, Gil Diesendruck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Predicting others’ behavior is critical for everyday social interactions. Research indicates a development in the cues children rely on in making such predictions. The present studies investigated whether 5- and 8-year-olds from Germany and Israel (N = 136) rely on group preferences for predicting others’ behavior, and whether their reliance on group preferences vary for in- and outgroups. Children were asked to predict the behavior of in- and outgroup members, while presented with conflicting information about a group's and an individual's preference. The main finding was that in both Germany and Israel, children – especially 8-year-olds – systematically predicted that novel group members would follow a group preference, but that an individual would maintain his/her own preference. Moreover, in neither country were children affected by the group membership of the target individuals. These studies reveal the protracted development of children's capacity to negotiate multiple sources of information for predicting people's behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100955
JournalCognitive Development
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank all children who participated as well as their parents. This work was funded by the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF) – Grant No: _ I-101-105.2-2014 _ to Gil Diesendruck and Hannes Rakoczy. We want to thank the teachers, parents, and children for their participation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Cognitive development
  • Cultural comparison
  • Predicting behavior
  • Social categories


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