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Title: Adults' mental representations of children
Author: Nolan, Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 7759
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2014
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The introductory chapter provides a brief exploration of the history of childhood, and childhood representations, in Western popular thinking over the last 500 years. It also provides a brief discussion of the implications of these representations on policy, the study of children, and adult social cognition. In Chapter 2, two experiments explore the potential effects of including children in representations of outgroups on attitudes towards the outgroup, with inconclusive findings. In Chapter 3, three experiments explore the effects of priming the category of children on impressions of a novel ambiguous target (the Donald paradigm). Methodological issues and inconsistent findings mar the interpretation of effects, but an improved set of category labels for future studies of child category priming are considered in the general discussion. In Chapter 4 I take a step back and systematically explore the ways in which different childhood age groups (babies, toddlers, children, and teenagers) are represented. The first stage of data collection determined the typical age boundaries identified for children and the labels by which we delineate these different age groups. The next stage identified the emotions, beliefs, and behaviours relevant to attitudes to these groups in an open-ended listing exercise. There were differences in the content and endorsement of attitude components towards the age groups, with broadly more negative components towards older child groups than younger ones. In addition, there were fewer nurturing related components but more reparative behaviours as the age of the child increased. Chapter 5 built on these findings by developing the Child Attitude Component Scale (CACS) and testing the convergent and discriminant validity of this scale. Scores on the CACS were related but distinct from scores on measures about beliefs about humanity in general, such as the Humanity Esteem Scale and Polarity Scale. The CACS was also distinct from individual differences in emotional regulation and appraisal, self-esteem, social desirability responding and beliefs about social hierarchy. Potential spheres for testing the CACS as a predictive tool in situations concerning children are discussed alongside limitations and future directions in Chapter 6.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology