At the age of about three years, children show a verbal preference for members of their own social group (e.g. skin color, gender, nationality).
From the age of about five, children behave more positively towards the members of their own group as opposed to children of another group: they share more with them, tend to forgive negative behavior and interpret ambiguous events more positively.
How do we explore social interaction in groups?
In order to study the phenomena of group psychology, so-called "minimal groups" are often used. For this, children are randomly assigned to a group that has no relevance or background in real life. In addition, there is no direct interaction between the group members. This takes place in a playful setting, for example, via a virtual presentation of other children.
Why is this important?
The motivation to feel attached to a social group is very strong. If people feel excluded, negative mood, reduced self-esteem, depression and social withdrawal can occur.
For example, in the case of social exclusion the same areas in the brain, which are also activated in case of physical pain are activated.