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Preschoolers’ Emotional and Behavioral Responses Concerning Exclusion: Social Consensus Versus Authority Influences

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The present study explored young children’s inclusion/exclusion decisions based on gender, skin color, and physical and sensorial disabilities. We also examined children’s emotions following these decisions and the explicit influence of peers (social consensus) and teachers (authority influence). Our sample consisted of 64 Romanian children, aged 4 to 6 years. Results suggested that the inclusion rates were relatively high (between 70% and 97%) when discussing potential inclusion/exclusion based on gender, color, or specific group membership. The highest inclusion rate (depending on gender, color, and disability) was for out-group members with no other specified characteristics. The lowest inclusion rates were related to disability, both physical and sensorial. Children’s behavioral and affective responses following the exclusion of out-group members were generally oriented toward active answers, i.e., children chose to actively intervene when witnessing exclusion based on skin color and disability. Finally, our results suggested that teachers’ influence (i.e., the authority) was stronger than the peers’ influence (i.e., social consensus).

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This work was supported by a grant of the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi, within the Research Grants program, Grant UAIC, code GI-UAIC-2021-06.

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Correspondence to Alexandra Maftei.

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Before beginning the study, this study’s protocol was designed in concordance with ethical requirements specific to the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University (Iasi, Romania). Furthermore, all participants voluntarily participated in the study and gave written informed consent following the Declaration of Helsinki and the national laws of Romania regarding ethical conduct in scientific research, technological development, and innovation.

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The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have influenced the work reported in this paper. The authors declare no financial interests/personal relationships, which may be considered as potential competing interests.

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Maftei, A., Ghinieș, A.M. Preschoolers’ Emotional and Behavioral Responses Concerning Exclusion: Social Consensus Versus Authority Influences. Early Childhood Educ J (2024).

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