Kids are more likely to be branded a ‘jerk’ when they express an opinion that they don’t agree with, according to a new study.
The study found that, when asked to judge other people by their behaviour, they’re more likely than other people to judge their own behaviour by the behaviour of others.
“This is not surprising given that kids do judge others, and they also think about what others do, which is really what we wanted to look at,” said Dr Emma Miller, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lead author of the study.
“We wanted to see if there was any way that we could make kids think about how others react to them, so that they’d be more willing to be open to others and to make decisions based on those opinions.”
Dr Miller’s team recruited 101 children aged between four and 11 from Baldwin High School in Baldwin, Wisconsin.
The children were asked to rate their own and other people’s behaviour using a series of questions.
For each question, the children were shown a picture of a person who was being judged, and asked to guess whether or not the person in the picture was a “bad guy”.
“It’s a really good way to measure how people are feeling,” Dr Miller said.
“When kids are shown the picture, they look at the person as a bad guy and say ‘Oh yeah, that guy’s a bad person, he should be punished’.”‘
It’s like a mirror’Dr Miller said that the way children evaluate others’ behaviour is different to how adults do it.
“If a parent has a good relationship with their child, they want them to be respectful, and to do the right thing, and when it comes to judging the behaviour or behaviour of other people, kids are much more likely [to judge] people on their behaviour than adults are,” she said.’
It makes it easier for me’The study also found that children are more open to hearing people disagree with them when their opinions are different.
“The kids are not just more open, but they’re less afraid to say something that isn’t true,” Dr Wilson said.
“They don’t see it as a threat.
It makes it easy for them to express their opinion.”‘
It seems like it’s easier for kids to make their own decisions’Dr Wilson said that parents have to be aware that they can be perceived as being biased.
“It seems to be like it makes it harder for kids who are in a similar position to them to make an honest, informed decision about their own life,” Dr Johnson said.
“They have to have the courage to be themselves and make their decisions without being labelled as a jerk.”