Kristina R. Olson's research while affiliated with Princeton University and other places

Publications (96)

Article
Within “mainstream” developmental science, gender researchers largely study the developmental trajectory of children considered to be “gender typical,” while research housed primarily in psychiatry and clinical psychology often documents the trajectories of gender diverse children. This article aims to bridge the studies of gender diversity and “ma...
Article
While considerable research has examined gender development in middle childhood, little longitudinal work has been conducted at this time to indicate whether, for example, youth who show more or less gender conformity at one point continue to do so later. The present study investigated the consistency of gender identity and preferences for gender-s...
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Previous work has documented adolescents' gender stereotype endorsement, or the extent to which one believes men or women should embody distinct traits. However, understanding of gender stereotype endorsement in gender diverse adolescents-those who identify as transgender, nonbinary, and/or gender nonconforming-is limited. Gender diverse adolescent...
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES Concerns about early childhood social transitions amongst transgender youth include that these youth may later change their gender identification (i.e., retransition), a process that could be distressing. The present study aimed to provide the first estimate of retransitioning and to report the current gender identities of...
Article
From an early age, children act generously towards one another, but the situational features that promote generous decision‐making remain under investigation. The current study tests the impact of being identifiable—as a recipient of generosity, a giver, or both—on children's generosity. Six‐year‐old children (N = 129) allocated resources to a reci...
Article
Studies of gender development typically use binary, discrete measures of identity. However, growing literature indicates that some children might not identify with a binary gender. We tested a continuous measure of felt gender identity with gender‐non‐conforming children, socially transitioned transgender children, cisgender siblings, and unrelated...
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Previous research often suggests that people who endorse more essentialist beliefs about social groups are also likely to show increased prejudice towards members of these social groups, and there is even some evidence to suggest that essentialism may lead to prejudice and stereotyping. However, there are several notable exceptions to this pattern...
Preprint
Previous work has documented adolescents' gender stereotype endorsement, or the extent to which one believes men or women should embody certain traits. However, understanding of gender stereotype endorsement in gender diverse adolescents - those who identify with a gender different from their assigned sex at birth - is limited. Gender diverse adole...
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Epidemiological studies suggest that more youth are identifying as gender expansive (e.g., transgender, gender nonconforming) than ever before. However, due to stressors like discrimination, gender minorities remain at significantly higher risk for mental and physical health problems than their cisgender peers. While initial research has shown that...
Chapter
Part 3 of this first-of-its-kind 3-part series helps show how pediatric primary care providers (PPCPs) are uniquely situated to screen, identify, and care for transgender and gender-diverse youths.
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Although increasing numbers of children have socially transitioned to live in line with their gender identities, little is known about factors associated with their wellbeing. This study examines the associations between parent-reported family, peer, and school support for a youth’s gender identity, as well as an objective measure of state-level su...
Article
Children essentialize gender from a young age, viewing it as inborn, biologically based, unchanging, and predictive of preferences and behaviors. Children's gender essentialism appears to be so pervasive that it is found within conservative and liberal communities, and among transgender and cisgender children. However, it remains unclear what aspec...
Article
Beginning early in life, children are exposed to people who differ in social status. In five studies, we investigate whether 3- to 6-year-old children recognize different dimensions of status (i.e., wealth, physical dominance, decision-making power, and prestige) and use these dimensions to inform their social judgments (preferences and resource al...
Article
Previous research suggests that people encode gender starting in childhood. The present research asked whether gender diverse children (i.e., children whose gender identity or expression differs from that expected based on assigned sex) encode gender. Results showed that 3‐ to 5‐year‐old gender diverse participants (N = 71), siblings of gender dive...
Preprint
Gender identity is a core feature of human experience, yet our understanding of gender identity is shifting with broader societal changes in recognizing and understanding gender diversity. Here we discuss recent trends and upcoming directions for this burgeoning subfield.
Article
Gender identity is a core feature of human experience, yet our understanding of gender identity is shifting with broader societal changes in recognizing and understanding gender diversity. Here we discuss recent trends and upcoming directions for this burgeoning subfield.
Article
Gender is one of the central categories organizing children’s social world. Clear patterns of gender development have been well-documented among cisgender children (i.e., children who identify as a gender that is typically associated with their sex assigned at birth). We present a comprehensive study of gender development (e.g., gender identity and...
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Full-text available
Children, across cultures, show an early-emerging tendency to essentialize gender, viewing gender as inborn and predictive of stereotypical preferences. However, research has been limited to children whose own gender experience is largely consistent with the assumptions of gender essentialism. In contrast, transgender children have gender identitie...
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Early in childhood, children already have an awareness of prescriptive stereotypes—or beliefs about what a girl or boy should do (e.g., “girls should play with dolls”). In the present work, we investigate the relation between children’s own prescriptive gender stereotypes and their perceptions of others’ prescriptive gender stereotypes within three...
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Evidence of group bias based on race, ethnicity, nationality, and language emerges early in the life span. Although understanding the initial acquisition of group bias has critical theoretical and practical implications, precisely how group biases are acquired has been understudied. In two preregistered experiments, we tested the hypothesis that ge...
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Objective: An increasing number of children are socially transitioning to live as their identified genders rather than their assigned sexes, yet little empirical work has examined the decision-making process surrounding social transitions. We aimed to understand (1) why parents and their gender nonconforming children do and do not consider social...
Article
Increasing numbers of gender-nonconforming children are socially transitioning—changing pronouns to live as their identified genders. We studied a cohort of gender-nonconforming children (n = 85) and contacted them again approximately 2 years later. When recontacted, 36 of the children had socially transitioned. We found that stronger cross-sex ide...
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The bias blind spot (BBS) is the tendency for people to perceive themselves as less biased than others. This tendency resembles a self-enhancement effect, but research has mainly focused on other mechanisms that purportedly underlie the BBS. In this article we present developmental evidence that the BBS and a self-enhancing tendency, namely the bet...
Article
Despite extant evidence of negative peer treatment of transgender adolescents and adults, little is known about how young children perceive transgender peers, particularly those who have socially-transitioned, or are living in line with their gender, rather than sex at birth. Whereas children have been shown to be averse to gender nonconformity in...
Article
The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is increasingly used in developmental research despite minimal evidence of whether children’s IAT scores are reliable across time or predictive of behavior. When test–retest reliability and predictive validity have been assessed, the results have been mixed, and because these studies have differed on many factors...
Article
Despite a dramatic increase in the number of socially transitioned transgender children (children who identify with the gender opposite their natal sex and who change their appearance and pronouns to align with that gender identity), few studies have examined transgender children's gender development. Findings from the TransYouth Project, the first...
Article
Lay theories suggest that people who are overconfident in their knowledge are less likely to revise that knowledge when someone else offers an alternative belief. Similarly, one might assume that people who are willing to revise their beliefs might not be very confident in their knowledge to begin with. Two studies with children ages 4–11 years old...
Article
In the present work, we ask whether socially transitioned, transgender children differ from other children in their endorsement of gender stereotypes and response to others' gender nonconformity. We compare transgender children (N = 56) to a group of siblings of transgender children (N = 37), and a group of unrelated control participants (N = 56) d...
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Studies with convenience samples have suggested that the lay public’s conception of intellectual property laws, including how the laws should regulate and why they should exist, are largely incommensurate with the actual intended purpose of intellectual property laws and their history in the United States. In this paper, we test whether these findi...
Data
Additional study design & analysis information. (DOCX)
Article
Beck and Clark (2009) found self-report evidence that adults are more likely to offer support to a potential friend than to seek identical support from that potential friend, but that this asymmetry between offering and seeking support weakens among close friends. The present study sought to behaviorally replicate these findings in adults as well a...
Article
An increasing number of transgender children-those who express a gender identity that is "opposite" their natal sex-are socially transitioning, or presenting as their gender identity in everyday life. This study asks whether these children differ from gender-typical peers on basic gender development tasks. Three- to 5-year-old socially transitioned...
Article
Identifying the origins of social bias is critical to devising strategies to overcome prejudice. In two experiments, we tested the hypothesis that young children can catch novel social biases from brief exposure to biased nonverbal signals demonstrated by adults. Our results are consistent with this hypothesis. In Experiment 1, we found that childr...
Article
Identifying the origins of social bias is critical to devising strategies to overcome prejudice. In two experiments, we tested the hypothesis that young children can catch novel social biases from brief exposure to biased nonverbal signals demonstrated by adults. Our results are consistent with this hypothesis. In Experiment 1, we found that childr...
Article
Children help others to complete their goals. Yet adults are sometimes motivated to help others in a “paternalistic” way, overriding a recipient's desires if they conflict with the recipient's best interests. Experiments investigated whether 5-year-olds (n = 100) consider a recipient's desire, and the consequences of fulfilling this desire, when he...
Article
Objective: Social transitions are increasingly common for transgender children. A social transition involves a child presenting to other people as a member of the "opposite" gender in all contexts (e.g., wearing clothes and using pronouns of that gender). Little is known about the well-being of socially transitioned transgender children. This stud...
Article
Developmental research on social categorization has overwhelmingly focused on perceptions about and experiences of individuals who are clear or prototypical members of discrete and usually dichotomous social categories. For example, studies of social categorization, stereotyping, prejudice, and social identity have generally explored how children r...
Article
We are grateful for the comment from McKean et al on our article reporting on anxiety and depression among a group of socially transitioned, prepubescent transgender children ages 3 to 12 years.1 Although we have additional research in progress that can better speak to some of their concerns (eg, the focus in the first article on parental reports),...
Article
Lay people routinely misunderstand or do not obey laws protecting intellectual property (IP), leading to a variety of (largely unsuccessful) efforts by policymakers, IP owners, and researchers to change those beliefs and behaviors. The current work tests a new approach, inquiring whether lay people's views about IP protection can be modified by arg...
Article
Intellectual humility is usually regarded as a virtue. In this paper, we conceptualized intellectual humility along two dimensions: (1) placing an adequate level of confidence in one’s own beliefs; (2) being willing to consider other people’s beliefs. We tested whether children (ages 4 to 11 years) and adults perceived intellectual humility as posi...
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Wealth differences between individuals are ubiquitous in modern society, and often serve as the basis for biased social evaluations among adults. The present research probed whether children use cues that are commonly associated with wealth differences in society to guide their consideration of others. In Study 1, 4–5-year-old participants from div...
Data
Description of Stimulus Validation (Study 2). (DOCX)
Data
Permission to publish the images in Fig 1 and Fig 2. (DOCX)
Data
Data File for Stimulus Validation (Study 2). (XLSX)
Article
Objective: Transgender children who have socially transitioned, that is, who identify as the gender "opposite" their natal sex and are supported to live openly as that gender, are increasingly visible in society, yet we know nothing about their mental health. Previous work with children with gender identity disorder (GID; now termed gender dysphor...
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The industrialized world is becoming more ethnically diverse. Research in several disciplines has suggested that exposure to racial out-groups may be associated with more positive and more negative intergroup attitudes. Given that U.S. states are often at the center of debate regarding diversity-related public policy, we examined how exposure to ou...
Article
A visible and growing cohort of transgender children in North America live according to their expressed gender rather than their natal sex, yet scientific research has largely ignored this population. In the current study, we adopted methodological advances from social-cognition research to investigate whether 5- to 12-year-old prepubescent transge...
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Researchers have proposed different accounts of the development of prosocial behavior in children. Some have argued that behaviors like helping and sharing must be learned and reinforced; others propose that children have an initially indiscriminate prosocial drive that declines and becomes more selective with age; and yet others contend that even...
Article
Intellectual property law is caught in a widespread debate over whether it should serve incentive or natural rights objectives, and what the best means for achieving those ends are. This article reports a series of experiments revealing that these debates are actually orthogonal to how most users and many creators understand intellectual property l...
Article
Evidence that children's system-justifying preferences track the extent of group-based status differences is consistent with the inherence heuristic account. However, evidence that children are inferring inherence per se, or that such inferences are the cause of system-justifying preferences, is missing. We note that, until direct evidence of the i...
Article
Six-year-old children negatively evaluate plagiarizers just as adults do (Olson & Shaw, 2011), but why do they dislike plagiarizers? Children may think plagiarism is wrong because plagiarizing negatively impacts other people's reputations. We investigated this possibility by having 6- to 9-year-old children evaluate people who shared their own or o...
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The 3-stage model of social inference posits that people categorize behaviors and characterize actors or situations effortlessly, but they correct these characterizations with additional information effortfully. The current article tests this model using developmental data, assuming that the less cognitively demanding processes in the model (i.e.,...
Article
Bartlett developed the procedures of repeated reproduction (the same person repeatedly recalling information) and serial reproduction (people transmitting information from one person to another). Our experiment directly compared recall accuracy across these two techniques, which has not previously been reported, using DRM word lists. Recall of the...
Article
Some social groups are higher in socioeconomic status than others and the former tend to be favored over the latter. The present research investigated whether observing group differences in wealth alone can directly cause children to prefer wealthier groups. In Experiment 1, 4–5-year-old children developed a preference for a wealthy novel group ove...
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The breadth of human generosity is unparalleled in the natural world, and much research has explored the mechanisms underlying and motivating human prosocial behavior. Recent work has focused on the spread of prosocial behavior within groups through paying-it-forward, a case of human prosociality in which a recipient of generosity pays a good deed...
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Copying other people's ideas is evaluated negatively by American children and adults. The current study investigated the influence of culture on children's evaluations of plagiarism by comparing children from three countries-the United States, Mexico, and China-that differ in terms of their emphasis on the protection of intellectual property and id...
Article
Social groups are often described as hierarchically ordered in terms of social status. Intergroup research has generally focused on the relationship between the highest-status group and a single lower-status group, leaving relationships among nondominant groups relatively unexplored. Focusing on low-status Black and intermediate-status Coloured (mu...
Article
Inequalities are everywhere, yet little is known about how children respond to people affected by inequalities. This article explores two responses-minimizing inequalities and favoring those who are advantaged by them. In Studies 1a (N = 37) and 1b (N = 38), 4- and 5-year-olds allocated a resource to a disadvantaged recipient, but judged advantaged...
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Evaluating others is a fundamental feature of human social interaction-we like those who help more than those who hinder. In the present research, we examined social evaluation of those who not only intentionally performed good and bad actions but also those to whom good things have happened (the lucky) and those to whom bad things have happened (t...
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Whereas members of high-status racial groups show ingroup preference when attitudes are measured implicitly, members of low-status racial groups-both adults and children-typically show no bias, potentially reflecting awareness of the ingroup's low status. We hypothesized that when status differences are especially pronounced, children from low-stat...
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Fairness concerns guide children's judgments about how to share resources with others. However, it is unclear from past research if children take extant inequalities or the value of resources involved in an inequality into account when sharing with others; these questions are the focus of the current studies. In all experiments, children saw an ine...
Article
Over the last several decades, social psychologists have generated a literature rich with information about the racial intergroup attitudes and biases of adults. In parallel, developmental psychologists have documented the emergence and development of these attitudes in children, yet surprisingly little cross-talk occurs between the two fields. Her...
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Helping others is often more complicated than fulfilling their requests, for instance, when an individual requests something that is not suited to achieving her or his ultimate goal. Are children indiscriminate helpers, responding to any object-directed action or request, or do their helping actions prioritize ultimate goals over specific requests?...
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Previous research suggests that children develop an increasing concern with fairness over the course of development. Research with adults suggests that the concern with fairness has at least 2 distinct components: a desire to be fair and a desire to signal to others that they are fair. We explore whether children's developing concern with behaving...
Article
As scientists, we primarily award authorship, as well as legal patents, to those who generate ideas, often without formally crediting others who executed the actual experiments. However, little is known about how and when people come to value ideas. Here, we investigate whether young children also value ideas over labor. In Study 1, we found that 4...
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Children respond positively to individuals who favor them and also to individuals who are fair. The present studies examine the interaction between these two preferences by presenting children with two distributors who share resources with the child participant and another recipient. Children are asked whom they like better: the distributor who was...
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Adults frequently employ reputation-enhancing strategies when engaging in prosocial acts, behaving more generously when their actions are likely to be witnessed by others and even more so when the extent of their generosity is made public. This study examined the developmental origins of sensitivity to cues associated with reputationally motivated...
Article
Adults apply ownership not only to objects but also to ideas. But do people come to apply principles of ownership to ideas because of being taught about intellectual property and copyrights? Here, we investigate whether children apply rules from physical property ownership to ideas. Studies 1a and 1b show that children (6-8 years old) determine own...
Article
Group-based social hierarchies exist in nearly every society, yet little is known about whether children understand that they exist. The present studies investigated whether 3- to 10-year-old children (N = 84) in South Africa associate higher status racial groups with higher levels of wealth, one indicator of social status. Children matched higher...