Two studies were conducted to investigate the conception of freedom of speech in youth and college students. Participants in Study 1 were 207 elementary and middle school students (4th, 6th, and 8th grades) and 75 college students. The data revealed that (a) the participants recognized the importance of freedom of speech; (b) they understood its features in general; (c) when making judgments, they considered only the content of the speech (moral, conventional, prudential, or personal), and not the type of audience (adults, children); (d) there were age differences in judgments among the 4th, 6th, and 8th graders in the content of the conventional, prudential, and personal domains; (e) they did not differentiate 2 types of judgments (permission for certain speeches and the legitimacy of legal prohibition); and (f) judgments were associated with grade in school, justifications used to support freedom of speech in general questions, and judgments about violations of hypothetical laws restricting freedom of speech. The findings of Study 2, in which the participants were 97 elementary and middle school students (4th, 6th, and 8th grades), supported the view that there were age differences in the judgments.
- Freedom of speech
- Human rights
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology