The CHOONGE Project

Children's Beliefs and Feelings about their Own and Other National Groups in Europe

The CHOONGE project was an international research project conducted by six teams of researchers based in the UK, Spain and Italy between 1995 and 1997. The project was funded by the European Commission under the Third Framework Programme (Human Capital and Mobility, Contract No. CHRX-CT94-0687).
The project investigated the development of national attitudes and national identity in children and adolescents, using a comparative cross-national framework. The research objective was to document the cross-national constancies and differences which occur in the development of children's knowledge, beliefs and feelings about their own and other national and state groups, and the cross-national constancies and differences which occur in the development of their identifications with their own nation and state.

In order to achieve these objectives, 1,680 6-15-year-old children living in London, Dundee, Girona, Malaga, Padua and Rome were interviewed using a battery of standardised test materials. These materials were used to measure:

  • The children's national self-categorizations and strength of their subjective identifications with their own nation and state
  • The children's national geographical knowledge
  • The children's knowledge of national emblems, customs and scenes
  • The children's beliefs and feelings about their own national and state ingroups and about various national outgroups
  • The children's use of language(s)
  • The children's travel experience

A subsequent cross-national research project, the NERID project, utilised similar research methods to collect further data in additional national contexts. 

Research teams

The CHOONGE project was conducted by the following teams of researchers:

University of Surrey, Guildford, UK

  • Martyn Barrett (CHOONGE Project Co-ordinator)
  • Evanthia Lyons (Surrey team leader)
  • Eithne Buchanan-Barrow
  • Fabio Sani
  • Hannah Wilson

University of Dundee, Dundee, UK

  • Mark Bennett (Dundee team leader)

University of Girona, Girona, Spain

  • Ignasi Vila (Girona team leader)
  • Arantza del Valle Gomez
  • Santi Perera
  • Pilar Monreal

University of Malaga, Malaga, Spain

  • Almudena Giménez de la Peña (Malaga team leader)
  • Pablo Fernandez Berrocal
  • Jesus Canto Ortiz

University of Padua, Padua, Italy

  • Luciano Arcuri (Padua team leader)
  • Anna Emilia Berti
  • Luigi Castelli
  • Mara Cadinu

University of Rome "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy

  • Annamaria Silvana de Rosa (Rome team leader)
  • Anna Silvia Bombi


Detailed information about the methods and findings of the project can be found in the following publications:

Barrett, M. (2007). Children’s Knowledge, Beliefs and Feelings about Nations and National Groups. Hove: Psychology Press.

Barrett, M., Lyons, E. & del Valle, A. (2004). The development of national identity and social identity processes: do social identity theory and self-categorization theory provide useful heuristic frameworks for developmental research? In M. Bennett & F. Sani (Eds.), The Development of the Social Self (pp. 159-188). Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Bennett, M., Lyons, E., Sani, F. & Barrett, M. (1998). Children's subjective identification with the group and ingroup favoritism. Developmental Psychology, 34, 902-909.

Castelli, L., Cadinu, M. & Barrett, M. (2002). Lo sviluppo degli atteggiamenti nazionali in soggetti in età scolare. Rassegna di Psicologia, 19, 49-65.

de Rosa, A.S. & Bombi, A.S. (1999). Se sentir heureux d'être Italiens? La construction de l'identité nationale et supranationale dans les représentations sociales de son propre pays ou du pays d'autrui chez des enfants et chez des adolescents. In M.L. Rouquette & C. Garnier (Eds.), La Genèse des Représentations Sociales (pp. 136-170). Montreal: Editions Nouvelles.

de Rosa, A.S. (2003). Becoming European: national and supra-national identity and social representation of one's own and other countries and people in children
aged 6-15. In M. Lavallée, S. Vincent, C. Ouellet & C. Garnier (Eds.), Les représentations socials: Constructions nouvelles (pp. 51-82). Montréal: Université du Québec à Montréal.

Giménez, A., Canto, J.M., Fernandez, P. & Barrett, M. (1999). La identificacion social como regulador del estereotipo lo que piensan los ninos Andaluces. Boletin de Psicologia, 64, 81-99.

Giménez, A., Canto, J.M., Fernández, P. & Barrett, M. (2003). Stereotype development in Andalusian children. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 6, 28-34.

Vila, I., del Valle, A., Perera, S., Monreal, P. & Barrett, M. (1998). Autocategorizacion, identidad nacional y contexto linguistico. Estudios de Psicologia, 60, 3-14

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