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Children's Thinking about Diversity of Belief in the Early School Years: Judgments of Relativism, Tolerance, and Disagreeing Persons

Cecilia Wainryb, Leigh A. Shaw, Marcie Langley, Kim Cottam and Renee Lewis
Child Development
Vol. 75, No. 3 (May - Jun., 2004), pp. 687-703
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3696588
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Children's Thinking about Diversity of Belief in the Early School Years: Judgments of Relativism, Tolerance, and Disagreeing Persons
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Abstract

Children's thinking about diversity of belief in 4 realms-morality, taste, facts, and ambiguous facts-was examined. Ninety-six participants (ages 5, 7, and 9) were interviewed about beliefs different from their own that were endorsed by characters with different status; their judgments of relativism, tolerance, and disagreeing persons were assessed. Five-year-olds made fewer relative and tolerant judgments than 7- and 9-year-olds. Nevertheless, participants of all ages organized their judgments according to the realm of diversity, thought that some beliefs are relative and some are nonrelative, and made tolerant judgments of some divergent beliefs (and their proponents) but not of others. The findings suggest that, in the early school years, children have multiple and well-differentiated perspectives on belief diversity.

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