loading page

When do generics lead to social essentialism: developmental evidence from Iran
  • +2
  • Ghazale Shahbazi,
  • Hossein Samani,
  • Tara Mandalaywala,
  • Khatereh Borhani,
  • Telli Davoodi
Ghazale Shahbazi
Shahid Beheshti University
Author Profile
Hossein Samani
Shahid Beheshti University
Author Profile
Tara Mandalaywala
UMass Amherst
Author Profile
Khatereh Borhani
Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Author Profile
Telli Davoodi
Boston University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile


Generic descriptions (e.g., “girls are emotional”) are argued to play a major role in the development of essentialist reasoning about social categories (Rhodes et al., 2018). However, studies have been conducted dominantly in English-speaking communities and among Western samples. This is a significant limitation given that a number of theories focus on the linguistic form of generic statements and distinguish between form and content in leading to essentialism. In this study, we plan to extend the research on generics and social essentialism beyond English-speaking, Western samples. We aim to explore how generic statements with different content (biological or cultural) about a novel social category may lead to essentialist beliefs among children and adults in Iran, a Persian-speaking community that is underrepresented in the literature. Using a design similar to Noyes & Keil (2020), we plan to expose 4 to 9-year-old children (N = 104) and adults (N = 104) to generic or specific statements (between subjects) ascribing biological or cultural features to a novel social category. We will measure the degree to which exposure to these statements leads to essentialist reasoning in terms of inheritability and “kindhood”. This work contributes to diversifying the field and informs theories of social essentialism.
02 Jul 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
15 Aug 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
27 Sep 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Major