ERIC Number: ED056952
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1971-Sep
Reference Count: 0
How Children Categorize Social Stimuli. Final Report.
This study investigated the kinds of dimensions that children use to compare and contrast two sets of social stimuli--houses and jobs. The research was based on the assumption that obtaining knowledge of how similarity structures are formed for social domains would be useful in explaining the development of personal preferences and conceptions of social status. Free sort and triad procedures, and preference and importance rank orders were used to explore the ways in which 120 fourth and seventh graders from urban and suburban areas categorized houses and jobs. The younger children grouped pairs of houses with similar details and pairs of jobs with similar functions. The older children used a greater variety of different criteria to group the stimuli and were more likely to sort the total array on the basis of a single attribute. Explicit social status categories were used infrequently by all children. Status was an important determinant of preferences and important ranks. Urban children liked more houses than did suburban children--perhaps reflecting an attempt to minimize their own distance from the top. Job preferences and importance rank orders resembled adult occupational prestige rankings. While social status knowledge increased with age, even the older children were more likely to select glamorous jobs as ideals than high status ones. (Author/JLB)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Center for Educational Research and Development (DHEW/OE), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Joint Center for Urban Studies, Cambridge, MA.