Relations Between Language Exposure and Social Behavior in Childhood




Arreola, Aleyda

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Previous studies have examined children’s sensitivity to language when forming social preferences, but less research had examined how a social partner’s language influences children’s sharing behaviors, or if language-based preferences are evident amongst bilingual children. The goal of the current study was to understand how language-based social preferences in early childhood (ages 4-7 years) affect monolingual and bilingual children’s choices to engage in the prosocial behavior of sharing. The study consisted of a paradigm in which children were shown scenarios of four different language pairings of two speakers:(1) native-accented English vs. Spanish, (2) native-accented English vs. Spanish-accented English, (3) Bilingual vs. native-accented English, and (4) Bilingual vs. Spanish, and were asked to share 5 pretend food items between the two speakers. Results indicate that monolingual children preferred other native monolingual speakers but that bilingual children showed no preferences. There were no relations between age and the magnitude of children’s preferences. These findings extend our knowledge of in-group biases in early childhood, with implications for conceptualizing language as a group marker.



Language, Childhood


Arreola, A. (2020). <i>Relations between language exposure and social behavior in childhood</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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