Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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Based on association tasks, we focused our research on the process of concept construction and on the nature of the semantic structure network of three important concepts in the lives of young adolescents in the Parisian suburbs: violence, religion and intelligence. In this exploratory study, we were interested in identifying similarities and differences in the organization of these social concepts between adolescents with French parents and adolescents with immigrant parents. Despite the fact that these children share common “eco-cultural” experiences, we supposed that the different cultural guidelines in the family settings might influence the construction and the semantic organization of the concepts. Subjects were all born in France (N=228), and they share the same social environment and low socioeconomic status. Analyses of representational fields and of semantic networks were conducted and evidence for some similarities as well as for major differences between the two groups in concept construction and in semantic organization was present. Our findings showed a more homogeneous organization in children with immigrant parents; meanwhile French children’s structures of concepts are more heterogeneous. Major differences can also be observed at the semantic level. The findings are discussed in respect to the concept formation literature and the eco-cultural approach of human development.

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