The Multi-Norm Structural Social-Developmental Model of Children’s Intergroup Attitudes: Integrating Intergroup-Loyalty and Outgroup Fairness Norms

  • Ricardo Borges RodriguesEmail author
  • Adam Rutland
  • Elizabeth Collins


This chapter presents a new complete theoretical model of intergroup attitudes of children—the Multi-Norm Structural Social-Developmental (MNSD) model. The MNSD offers a comprehensive and integrative approach that builds on three extant social-developmental theories that explain the dynamic variation of prejudiced responses during child development. The unique contribution of MNSD is in integrating hypotheses on the role of competing social norms, using social-developmental and social psychological theory. The MNSD proposes that two strong social norms, the ingroup loyalty norm and the norm not to be prejudiced (outgroup fairness norm), operate in a complementary rather than mutually exclusive way in social-developmental intergroup contexts. In specifying when and how these norms become influential and shape intergroup biases of children, the MNSD proposes two kinds of hypotheses, one regarding lasting changes in the availability and internalization of these norms and one regarding the situational and context dependent salience of them. With this the authors explain existing results and generate novel untested systematic hypotheses on how the dynamic relationship between groups’ complex normative repertoires and socio-structural variables proposed by social identity theory (status differences, their stability and legitimacy) might operate insidiously to protect or reify the status quo within asymmetric intergroup contexts.


Children Prejudice development Ingroup-loyalty norm Fairness norm Status positions 



The preparation of this chapter was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through a Ph.D. Grant assigned to the first author (FCT, Ref.: SFRH/BD/16834/2004) and a R&D Grant assigned to Professor Maria Benedicta Monteiro (FCT, Ref.: PTDC/PSI/71271/2006).

This chapter is dedicated to Professor Maria Benedicta Monteiro. Many of the ideas presented here were developed, discussed, and tailored during the development of the Ph.D. thesis of the first author under the supervision of Professor Maria Benedicta Monteiro and Professor Adam Rutland. Professor Maria Benedicta Monteiro has followed closely the preparation of the present chapter, making valuable contributions along the way, and for that we are deeply grateful. To her we dedicate Martin Luther King’ (1963) quote: “Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice … when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”

Correspondence concerning this chapter should be sent to the first author, by email to ‘’ or to Centro de Investigação e Intervenção Social (CIS, ISCTE-IUL), Avenida das Forças Armadas, Edifício ISCTE-IUL, 1649-026, Lisboa, Portugal.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo Borges Rodrigues
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adam Rutland
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Collins
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), CIS-IULLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Goldsmiths, University of LondonLondonUK

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