A NEW study says we start learning to divide the world between “us” and “them” between the ages of 6 and 8.
The research out of Germany also found that “eight-year-old boys feel, or at least act upon, this disdain far more strongly than eight-year-old girls.”
The research from Germany suggests this problematic psychological process—which underpins racism, extreme nationalism, and prejudice of all sorts—kicks in somewhere around age seven.
In the journal Psychological Science, they present evidence that six-year-olds show clear bias in favor of a group they belong to. However, hatred for opposing groups doesn’t show up until two years later.
But the research suggests love for people we think of as members of our group precedes hatred for those we perceive as outsiders. This may present a teaching opportunity.