Peer persuasion strategies during rule following in 4-to 6-year-olds
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CitationŞen, H. H., Küntay, A. C., & Kumkale, T. G. (2021). Peer persuasion strategies during rule following in 4‐ to 6‐year‐olds. Social Development. 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1111/sode.12525
Despite being a ubiquitous form of communication, persuasive communication between children received relatively scant research attention. We used a novel approach to study children's persuasive interactions in a semi-naturalistic paradigm where dyads of 4- to 6-year-old children were asked to follow a rule together. In this context, we observed (a) the frequency and types of strategies children spontaneously used to persuade their partners to abide by the rule, (b) compliance behavior following the persuasion attempt, and (c) strategy change following a failed attempt to persuade. We coded children's persuasive strategies as gentle control, negative control, and non-engagement. Children tended to use gentle control and negative control strategies to a greater extent than non-engagement strategies to prevent their partner's potential rule violation. However, after a violation occurred, children most frequently displayed non-engagement. Gentle control brought about more compliance than the other strategies. Children tended to maintain their persuasive strategy of negative control and non-engagement, even though these were mostly ineffective in achieving compliance. These results show that 4- to 6-year-old children spontaneously and flexibly utilized persuasive strategies with peers to abide by a rule.