Children begin to participate in systems of inequality from a young age, demonstrating biases for high-status groups and willingly accepting group disparities. For adults, highlighting the structural causes of inequality (i.e., policies, norms) can facilitate adaptive outcomes-including reduced biases and greater efforts to rectify inequality-but such efforts have had limited success with children. Here, we considered the possibility that, to be effective in childhood, structural interventions must explicitly address the role of the high-status group in creating the unequal structures. We tested this intervention with children relative to a) a structural explanation that cited a neutral third party as the creator and b) a control explanation (N = 206, ages 5 to 10 y). Relative to those in the other two conditions, children who heard a structural explanation that cited the high-status group as the structures' creators showed lower levels of bias, perceived the hierarchy as less fair, and allocated resources to the low-status group more often. These findings suggest that structural explanations can be effective in childhood, but only if they implicate the high-status group as the structures' creators.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - 2023|
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