Ritual increases children's preferences for in-group members
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This study examined the impact of ritual on children's in-group affiliation (N = 71, 4-11-year-old children). A novel social group paradigm was used in an afterschool program setting to test the influence of a ritual versus a control task on three key outcomes--affiliation with in-group members, expectations for inclusion by in-group members, and selective group fusion with in-group members. Results from converging measures support the hypothesis that the experience of participating in a ritual increases in-group preference to a greater degree than group activity alone. The results provide insight into the early-developing preference for in-group members and are consistent with the proposal that rituals facilitate in-group cohesion.