Saturday, 2 July 2011

Birds Of A Feather Flock Together

All people prefer the company of their own people.

That is not racism.

That is naturalism.

Toddlers instinctively play with other young children of the same ethnicity, according to a study.

And children interacting with a contemporary of a different race adjust their behaviour to match their playmate's, scientists claim.

Researcher Nadine Girouard, of Concordia University in Montreal, said: 'We found Asian-Canadian and French-Canadian children seemed to prefer interacting with kids of the same ethnic background.

'Both groups were more interactive with children of the same ethnicity and, when matched with kids from another background, preferred solitary play.'

Scientists visited six nurseries In Montreal and observed the behaviour of 30 second-generation Asian-Canadians and 30 French-Canadians.

The children were paired with peers they had known for at least three months.

French-Canadian children used longer sentences when interacting with same-ethnic peers, yet decreased their verbal interactions when playing with Asian-Canadian peers, the scientists found.

They believe social mores likely prompted a lack of interaction between cultures.
Study co-author Dale Stack, of Concordia University, said: 'Children of both groups adapted their behaviours by speaking less in the case of French-Canadian children and by speaking more in the case of Asian-Canadian children.'

'Children seemed to prefer interacting with kids of the same ethnic background'The research team also observed how multi-cultural playmates could influence conflict among peers of the same ethnicity - findings that contradict previous studies.

'We observed that Asian-Canadian children frequently removed or attempted to remove toys from each other,' explains Ms Girouard.

'When interacting with peers of the same ethnicity, Asian-Canadian pre-schoolers were more competitive.'

She added: 'Consistent with some past research, self-expression and social initiation are highly valued in Canadian culture, self-restraint and cooperation may be more important in Chinese and Asian-Canadian culture and this has an impact on multicultural peer interactions.'

The findings are published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology.

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