Conceptualizing Socioeconomic Status: Children's Essentialist Thinking About Differentially Advantaged SES Categories
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The present study (N=32) examined the ways in which children differentially psychologically essentialize advantaged and disadvantaged socioeconomic status categories, using a switched-at-birth reasoning task. Children did not exhibit a tendency to essentialize for social properties and preferences, and there were no differences across age or SES categories. However, they did essentialize for biological properties pertaining to internal body parts, and did so consistently across age and SES categories. Children exhibited overwhelming accuracy in inferences made about adult members of both the advantaged and disadvantaged SES categories regarding lifestyle outcomes. Accuracy increased with age, but did not differ between advantaged and disadvantaged SES categories. Children’s tendencies to biologically and socially essentialize advantaged and disadvantaged SES categories did not correlate with parent self-reports of their family’s own SES background, relative to either their immediate community or the United States as a whole. Conceptualization of SES category membership, as well as interpretations and implications of findings are discussed.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2018
- F&M Theses Collection