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Symposium

Emotions and Judgments in Contexts of Peer Exclusion and Victimization

Saturday, May 29, 2010, 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Back Bay Ballroom B

Chair: Tina Malti
Harvard Medical School
Chair: Melanie Killen
University of Maryland, College Park

Recent research has focused on the interrelations between emotions and judgments in social contexts involving peer exclusion and victimization. New findings from three theoretical perspectives, which include moral and social cognition, aggression and social-information processing, and intergroup bias, will be discussed. The findings demonstrate variation by culture, context and development.

Proactive Aggression and High Risk Adolescents’ Happy Victimizer Attributions: What Is the Moral Context?
William F. Arsenio
Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University
The first paper examines emotion attributions and judgments in the context of peer victimization in an American sample of aggressive and non-aggressive adolescents (N = 100). Based on the revised social-information processing model, the authors show that proactive aggressive adolescents expected to feel more emotionally positive than their peers following acts of victimization. Moreover, proactive aggressive adolescents explained their emotions in terms of the desirable gains resulting from victimization.

Co-Author:
Jason Gold, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey

Social Judgments and Emotion Attributions About Exclusion in Switzerland
Tina Malti
Harvard Medical School
The second paper investigates adolescents’ judgments and emotion attributions about exclusion of three targets, nationality, gender, and personality, in a sample of Swiss and non-Swiss adolescents (N = 247) in Switzerland. Adolescents judged exclusion based on nationality as less acceptable than exclusion based on gender or nationality. Swiss national participants were more likely to attribute positive emotions to an excluder when the target was a different nationality than did non-Swiss nationals. The more adolescents viewed exclusion as wrong, the more negative emotions to an excluder were attributed.

Co-Authors:
Melanie Killen, University of Maryland, College Park
Luciano Gasser, Teacher Training University of Central Switzerland, Switzerland

Putting the Brakes on Children’s Explicit Ethnic Bias: The Role of Emotions, Social Cognition and Social Norms
Adam Rutland
University of Kent, United Kingdom

Co-Author:
Sarah FitzRoy, University of Kent, United Kingdom

Social Reasoning, Group Norms, and Moral Judgments About Exclusion
Melanie Killen
University of Maryland, College Park
The fourth paper draws on social cognitive domain research and intergroup research to present a new line of research (N = 160), which demonstrates how judgments about intergroup and intragroup exclusion vary as a function of the type of norm, the age of the child and the target of exclusion. The research includes measures on favorability of the deviant target (emotional valence) and measures on the evaluation of the act (social-cognitive judgment), and provides a window into when children give priority to moral norms of fair treatment over conventional norms stemming from group identity.

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