Parents’ Political Ideology Impacts How Their Children Punish Others: Study


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Parents’ Political Ideology Impacts

Psychology News

A team of researchers at New York University explored how parents’ political ideology dictates their children’s punishment for others. The study is published in the journal Psychological Science.

The Study

The researchers examined 269 children, aged 3−8 years, and their parents from across the United States. They conducted a series of experiments and surveys.

The children were subject to conditions in which they would demonstrate the need to meet out punishment to others within and outside a social group. On the other hand, the parents completed a questionnaire, rating their political values from ‘very liberal’ to ‘very conservative’.

The Findings

The results revealed how differences in group-related ideologies, especially political ideology, get transmitted intergenerationally and shape punishment across generations.

Parental conservatism in political beliefs is linked to “costly punishment” of and hostile behavior towards out-group members by children. Contrarily, parental liberalism is associated with children’s punishment of in-group members and policing of the group’s own behavior.

The researchers remarked: “The big takeaway here is that parents’ beliefs relate to how their children behave. In our study, we found that children’s likelihood of punishing someone from their own group vs. someone from a different group varied by the political ideology of their parents.

To Know More You May Refer To

Leshin, R. A., Yudkin, D. A., Van Bavel, J. J., Kunkel, L., & Rhodes, M. (2022). Parents’ Political Ideology Predicts How Their Children Punish. Psychological science, 33(11), 1894–1908. https://doi.org/10.1177/09567976221117154

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