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Influence of Belief, Race, and Sex Similarities between Child Observers and Models on Attitudes and Observational Learning

Adele E. Gottfried and Phyllis A. Katz
Child Development
Vol. 48, No. 4 (Dec., 1977), pp. 1395-1400
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1128498
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1128498
Page Count: 6
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Influence of Belief, Race, and Sex Similarities between Child Observers and Models on Attitudes and Observational Learning
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Abstract

The present study sought to determine whether children's attitudes and observational learning are influenced more by belief, race, or sex similarities. 96 children observed a model who was similar or dissimilar to themselves with respect to these variables. Attitudes toward the model, memory for modeled behaviors, and intention to imitate the model were subsequently measured. Attitudes were pervasively and significantly more favorable when the model's belief was similar to that of the observer. There were tendencies for female models to be more negatively evaluated than male models and for black models to be more positively evaluated than white models. The role of gender appears to have a stronger influence on children's attitudes than on those of adults. Belief similarity resulted in more accurate memory compared to belief dissimilarity, but race and sex similarities did not influence either memory or intention to imitate. Results support the theoretical view attributing attitude biases to the interaction of belief, race, and sex. The influence of model characteristics on observational learning is discussed within the framework of information processing and perceived consequences to the observer.

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