How children draw conclusions from the products they see
A well-groomed man gets out of a Mercedes. He's holding a Smartphone and wearing a slick business suit and what appear to be $400 Kenneth Cole shoes. You only catch a glimpse, but you've already drawn conclusions about him. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research examines children's tendencies to draw conclusions about social roles from the products they see. "Good or bad, we adults have all made similar stereotypes about people, based on the products they own," write authors Lan Nguyen Chaplin (University of Arizona) and Tina M. Lowrey (University of Texas, San Antonio). "We recognize that the meanings of products are often derived from their existence within a set of complementary products used by a social role (referred to as consumption constellations."
The researchers set out to discover whether children can match a set of diverse products to a particular social role. They looked at how early product stereotypes develop and how they change over time.
The study found that children as young as five years old are capable of forming consumption constellations. Little developmental change in this regard happens between first and third grade. From third grade on, changes occur, but not in a clear linear fashion. From third to fifth grade, children will use products and brands to describe social roles but their views of roles tend to be more flexible.
Seventh graders use fewer descriptions than the younger children and are more rigid in how they view roles. "Early adolescents appear to have a more myopic view of social roles," the authors explain; they will say things like, "All cool kids wear Adidas and Abercrombie & Fitch. They are also loud, have a lot of friends, and play sports."
"Our work aids our understanding of how diverse marketing cues are received by children, and helps parents, educators, and other concerned constituents understand how marketers' increasingly popular cross-promotional tactics affect children's knowledge of social roles, which can lead to stereotypes and feelings of prejudice that may carry into adulthood," the authors conclude.
- How Children Draw Conclusions From The Products They Seefrom Science DailyThu, 23 Jul 2009, 9:21:28 EDT
- How children draw conclusions from the products they seefrom PhysorgMon, 20 Jul 2009, 16:56:29 EDT
- How children draw conclusions from the products they seefrom Science BlogMon, 20 Jul 2009, 16:35:30 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Semen secrets: How a previous sexual partner can influence another male's offspring
- Selectively rewiring the brain's circuitry to treat depression
- Geneticists solve 40-year-old dilemma to explain why duplicate genes remain in the genome
- 'Deadly diarrhea' rates nearly doubled in 10 years: Study
- Team advances understanding of the Greenland Ice Sheet's meltwater channels
- Preference for built-up habitats could explain rapid spread of the tree bumblebee in UK
- Earth's water is older than the sun
- Tooth buried in bone shows prehistoric predators tangled across land, sea
- Talk therapy -- not medication -- best for social anxiety disorder, large study finds
- Study shows how chimpanzees share skills
- Ancient mammal relatives were active at night 100 million years before origin of mammals
- Rosetta-Alice spectrograph obtains first far ultraviolet spectra of a cometary surface
- Giant garbage patches help redefine ocean boundaries
- Newly identified galactic supercluster is home to the Milky Way
- How much gravity is enough?