Given current global migration patterns, understanding of children’s intuitions about nationality and national categories is an important and emerging focus for developmental psychologists. We review theoretical and empirical work on three different types of intuition: (1) that nationality is primarily determined by ancestry (an ethnic intuition); (2) that nationality is determined by commitment to national institutions (a civic intuition); and (3) that membership in a national category is determined by possession of an invisible essence which explains the similarities between members of that category. We examine assumptions about the relations which hold between all three intuitions and derive a series of questions about how these intuitions develop, how they relate to each other, and how they might be affected by children’s experience. We describe a study (N = 196) suggesting that (1) most children, regardless of experience, possess elements of both ethnic and civic intuitions, and (2) essentialist intuitions about national categories decrease with age and are not associated with ethnic intuitions. We conclude by outlining the implications of these results and a number of important questions which they raise.
|Title of host publication||Advances in Child Development and Behavior|
|Place of Publication||Cambridge MA|
|Publication status||Accepted - 01 Mar 2020|