Do Children Recognize That Kinship Relationships Have an Innate Biological Basis?

  •  Lakshmi Raman    


Three studies were conducted to investigate if four and five year old children recognize that kinship relationships are determined by biological associations and not environmental conditions. All three studies employed the “switched-at-birth” task. Study 1 investigated if children and adults recognize who the biological parents and siblings are. Study 2 examined preschoolers’ and adults’ recognition of who the biological parents and siblings are when step parents and step siblings were introduced into the family. Study 3 examined if children and adults extend their knowledge of kinship relationships to non-human creatures. For Studies 1 and 2, results indicated that preschoolers and adults have a robust and accurate biological model of kinship for both biological parents and sibling relationships. However in Study 3, preschoolers had a more difficult time recognizing biological sibling relationships than biological parent relationships in the presence of step parents and step siblings for non-human biological creatures. In totality, these results suggest that even young children (like adults) have a robust theory of kinship when reasoning about human relationships. However children’s model of kinship is fragile and still developing when reasoning and extending their knowledge about humans to non-human species.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0526
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0534
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

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1. Google-based Impact Factor (2021): 1.11
2. h-index (December 2021): 29
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