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ERIC Number: ED091452
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1973-Apr
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Devaluation of Forbidden Toys Among Lower Socioeconomic Children as a Function of Severity and Specificity of Threat.
Dembroski, Theodore M.; And Others
A prediction derived from cognitive dissonance theory is that children devalue an attractive but forbidden toy when mild rather than severe threat deters them from playing with it. One study found the opposite effect for lower socioeconomic class children, i.e., a harsh verbal threat produced more devaluation than a mild threat. Since the latter study was judged to contain methodological and theoretical difficulties, the present study was designed to further explore the "forbidden toy" paradigm with lower-income children. Nature (loss of money versus loss of approval) and level (severe versus mild) of threat were varied in a two by two factorial design. It was predicted that lower-income children (a) devalue a forbidden toy more when threatened with loss of money than with loss of approval, (b) derogate the toy more under threat of severe rather than mild money loss, and (c) devalue the toy an equally small amount regardless of threat level in the loss of approval condition. The data supported the hypotheses. Four- and five-year old black children (N = 43) selected from a day-care center located in a lower socioeconomic neighborhood in St. Petersburg, Florida, served as subjects. Findings are discussed in terms of reinforcement history and "sour grapes," suggesting that when a life history which includes repeated denials to requests for attractive objects leads one to believe that when an adult prohibits a toy, it means that the toy will never be available. (Author/JM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida