Cross-Cultural Differences in the Valuing of Dominance by Young Children

Journal of Cognition and Culture 19 (3-4):256-272 (2019)
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Abstract

Developmental research suggests that young children tend to value dominant individuals over subordinates. This research, however, has nearly exclusively been carried out in Western cultures, and cross-cultural research among adults has revealed cultural differences in the valuing of dominance. In particular, it seems that Japanese culture, relative to many Western cultures, values dominance less. We conducted two experiments to test whether this difference would be observed in preschoolers. In Experiment 1, preschoolers in France and in Japan were asked to identify with either a dominant or a subordinate. French preschoolers identified with the dominant, but Japanese preschoolers were at chance. Experiment 2 revealed that Japanese preschoolers were more likely to believe a subordinate than a dominant individual, both compared to chance and compared to previous findings among French preschoolers. The convergent results from both experiments thus reveal an early emerging cross-cultural difference in the valuing of dominance.

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