Infants show racial bias toward members of own race and against those of other races

April 11, 2017, University of Toronto
infant
Credit: axelle b/public domain

Two studies by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto and their collaborators from the US, UK, France and China, show that six- to nine-month-old infants demonstrate racial bias in favour of members of their own race and racial bias against those of other races.

In the first study, "Older but not younger infants associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music", published in Developmental Science, results showed that after six months of age, begin to associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music.

In the second study, "Infants rely more on gaze cues from own-race than other-race adults for learning under uncertainty", published in Child Development, researchers found that six- to eight-month-old infants were more inclined to learn information from an adult of his or her own race than from an adult of a different race.

(In both studies, infants less than six months of age were not found to show such biases).

Racial bias begins at younger age, without experience with other-race individuals

"The findings of these studies are significant for many reasons," said Dr. Kang Lee, professor at OISE's Jackman Institute of Child Study, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair and lead author of the studies. "The results show that race-based already exists around the second half of a child's first year. This challenges the popular view that race-based bias first emerges only during the preschool years." Hear Dr. Lee discuss the research results.

Researchers say these findings are also important because they offer a new perspective on the cause of race-based bias.

"When we consider why someone has a racial bias, we often think of negative experiences he or she may have had with other-race individuals. But, these findings suggest that a race-based bias emerges without experience with other-race individuals," said Dr. Naiqi (Gabriel) Xiao, first author of the two papers and postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University.

This can be inferred because prior studies from other labs have indicated that many infants typically experience over 90 per cent own-race faces. Following this pattern, the current studies involved babies who had little to no prior experience with other-race individuals.

"These findings thus point to the possibility that aspects of racial bias later in life may arise from our lack of exposure to other-race individuals in infancy," Dr. Lee said.

Study results could be significant in prevention of racial bias

He continued to explain that overall, the results of these studies are critically important given the issues of wide-spread racial bias and racism around the world.

"If we can pinpoint the starting point of racial bias, which we may have done here, we can start to find ways to prevent racial biases from happening," he said.

"An important finding is that infants will learn from people they are most exposed to," added Dr. Xiao, indicating that parents can help prevent racial bias by, for example, introducing their children to people from a variety of races.

As conveyed in the second study's title, the bias was only observed in an uncertain context in which provided partially reliable information. As explained by Dr. Paul Quinn, an additional co-author, and Francis Alison Professor at the University of Delaware, "It's as if the infants trust the own-race adult more than the other-race adult when both adults are unreliable."

First study: Face-race and music

In the first study, infants from 3 to 10 months of age watched a sequence of videos depicting female adults with a neutral facial expression. Before viewing each face, infants heard a music clip. Babies participated in one of the four music-face combinations: happy music followed by own-race faces, sad music followed by own-race faces, happy music followed by other-race faces, and sad music followed by other-race faces. The study found that infants at six to nine months of age looked longer at own-race faces when paired with happy music as opposed to with sad music. By contrast, six- to nine-month-olds looked longer at other-race faces when paired with compared to with happy .

Second study: Face-race and learning

The second study examined whether infants were biased to learn from own-race adults versus other-race adults. Six to eight-month-old infants saw a series of videos. In each video, a female adult looked at any one of the four corners of the screen. Following the look, in some videos, an animal image appeared in the looked-at location (a reliable gaze). In other videos, an animal image appeared at a non-looked-at location (an unreliable gaze). The results showed that six to eight-month-old infants followed the gaze of members of their own race more than they followed the gaze of other-race individuals. This occurred when the faces were slightly unreliable, as they are in the natural environment. This result suggests that, under uncertainty, infants are biased to learn information from own-race adults as opposed to other-race adults.

Racial bias can 'permeate almost all of our social interactions'

Dr. Lee said it's important to be mindful of the impact that has on our everyday lives, stressing that not only is explicit bias a concern, but so too are implicit forms.

"Implicit racial biases tend to be subconscious, pernicious, and insidious. It permeates almost all of our social interactions, from health care to commerce, employment, politics, and dating. Because of that, it's very important to study where these kinds of biases come from and use that information to try and prevent from developing," he said.

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readerswrite
1 / 5 (5) Apr 14, 2017
Eugenics, anyone?

The picture at the top of the article suggests that these are the white infants who exhibit racial bias.

It appears that this study aims at finding ways to re-engineer the white race so that it no longer is capable to engage in any racial discrimination, like the reluctance to be displaced by highly fertile non-whites. I am sure the authors will deny it, but such a conclusion must be obvious to those with enough IQ and cognitive curiosity.

How about fixing other "birth defects" of (some) white babies, like propensity to seek individual freedom, and disdain towards collectivism? That would ultimately eliminate the last standing obstacles for the construction of a neo-Marxian world of racial justice and the redistributive political system that it will require.

And, if nothing else works well, how about lobotomy?

Anyway, for those who remember eugenics research, this article may be disturbing.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2017
It appears that this study aims at finding ways to re-engineer the white race
@readerswrite
Uhm... you didn't read the studies, did you?
A total of 193 full-term Chinese infants from 3 to 9 months of age participated in the current experiment after their caregivers gave informed consent
considering your first two sentences, i would suggest reading the studies rather than jumping to ASSumptions based upon a single picture
Anyway, for those who remember eugenics research, this article may be disturbing
except that it actually makes some valid observations and seeks to explain behaviour that is exhibited before we "learn"

maybe the results are simply because of familiarity and exposure (memory)?

a great further test would be using mix-race children and those living in homes with multiple races - do they associate more with strictly their own parent races, or just the primary parent race?
how do they identify when they're mixed race?
readerswrite
1 / 5 (4) Apr 16, 2017
To Captain Stumpy:

Let me speculate. You are an evolutionist but on societal issues you are an advocate of the "intelligent design".

You believe that a modern Western societies may be "intelligently" re-designed (based on some "valid observations" offered by "scientific research") in order to rid them of such evil as racism and xenophobia.

Moreover, you have no quarrel with attempts to "intelligently" re-design some members of these societies so that the said societies are compatible with these members' nature.

I would be surprised if you opposed methodology (not necessarily implementation) of eugenics in order to accomplish the result of your liking.

I guess you haven't done any serious introspection into your beliefs, so you may be unaware of who you are.

You may wish to keep in mind that Soviet socialism was "scientific" and based on "valid observations". One of its objectives was to design what some called "homo sovieticus", a being compatible with ideas of Marx.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 16, 2017
Let me speculate. You are an evolutionist but on societal issues you are an advocate of the "intelligent design"...
I guess you haven't done any serious introspection into your beliefs, so you may be unaware of who you are
@readerswrite
nope

not even close - none of that is even close

.

and you may wish to keep in mind a lot of things - like:

i made no statements whatsoever to support your speculations, but your statements towards the above study indicate your fear, conservatism and conspiracist ideation

just because this attempts to address where we get our racial bias and when doesn't mean there is anything indicative of retraining the species or eugenics

also note - this is a singular study and it's nothing more than a point if interest until, and only until, there is validation

perhaps you should also re-read my comment about "familiarity and exposure" and mixed race testing?

i follow the evidence
period
this is something interesting
that's it
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (4) Apr 16, 2017
It's getting to be a crowded world. The closer together we get packed, the more we better do all the learning we can about "who-hates-who-and-why-they-hate-them".

I doubt it is a genes thing because I have been in an interracial marriage for sixteen years with no problems at all. Little-Ira-Skippy is now 14 years old and he is happy and well adjusted (and is the favorite of all my relatives and Mrs-Ira-Skippette's relatives.)

Biological racism is a relatively new phenomenon in human history. Seven or six hundred years old. Before that racism was based on culture and civilization, not blood.
readerswrite
1 / 5 (3) Apr 16, 2017
To Captain Stumpy:

I doubt if with cognitive "philosophy" of this kind you can score above room temperature (in Kelvin degrees) on a traditional IQ test. But this is something that you will not admit easily. You may write what you want, sometimes - perhaps - you can even win an argument, but you cannot change reality with language, nor can you learn the truth with your selective filtering which facts to accept and which to reject.

Here is another related article "New research finds a way to reverse children's racial stereotyping" (you can find a link above) that uses at the top a picture of white infant as an illustration, but you claim, with no evidence, that this kind of research "doesn't mean there is anything indicative of retraining the species or eugenics".

If you try to be more naive than it's possible then it's a good start. But if you are trying to deceive others then you are going to fail.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Apr 16, 2017
Here is another related article "New research finds a way to reverse children's racial stereotyping" (you can find a link above) that uses at the top a picture of white infant as an illustration, but you claim, with no evidence, that this kind of research "doesn't mean there is anything indicative of retraining the species or eugenics"
@readerswrite
i am not the one claiming a free stock photo used in various general articles that mention "baby" is proof of eugenics and that because multiple sites use said picture, then this must be true
https://www.pexel...y-35446/

so, is said picture also proof of babies concieved on Valentines day having heart shaped birthmarks?
http://www.you.co...orehead/

ROTFLMFAO

I doubt if with cognitive "philosophy" of this kind you can score above room temperature (in Kelvin degrees) on a traditional IQ test
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 16, 2017
@reader can't use google cont'd
Here is another related article
did you know you can search for copies of pictures on google?

while you are at it- please demonstrate where in the above study (not the article) there is reason to believe that this is in any way related to eugenics

when you do that, show how the above information can be utilised to retrain babies or humans

...

If you try to be more naive than it's possible then it's a good start. But if you are trying to deceive others then you are going to fail. You may write what you want, sometimes - perhaps - you can even win an argument, but you cannot change reality with language, nor can you learn the truth with your selective filtering which facts to accept and which to reject.

perhaps you should go back to the conspiracist website you started at?
maybe you can DOX me and try something stupid...
LOL
readerswrite
1 / 5 (4) Apr 16, 2017
To Captain Stumpy:

Perhaps, rather than trying to file me under such evil categories as "conservatist" or "conspiracist", you should undergo a deprogramming of the "liberal" doctrines that impair your cognition. As they say:

"If you're not a liberal at twenty then you have no heart. If you're still a liberal at forty then you have no brain."

It's never too late to wisen up. But, I guess, it's unlikely for those who have contracted "Liberalism" for life.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 16, 2017
@illiteratesrite
Perhaps, rather than trying to file me under such evil categories as "conservatist" or "conspiracist", you should undergo a deprogramming of the "liberal" doctrines that impair your cognition
you mean like this?
You are an evolutionist but on societal issues you are an advocate of the "intelligent design"
it is so fascinating to watch such a "superior intellect" prejudge others while blatantly ignoring all that data listed, be it chinese babies or the following
Credit: axelle b/public domain
i mean.. to get such a clear, concise lesson from you is so amazing, especially how you pull eugenics right out of your *ss because of a public domain picture that you didn't know was freely available to anyone with a computer

stunning!
[in case you missed that, it's satirical hyperbole with heavy sarcasm included for good measure]

It's never too late to wisen up.[sic] But, I guess, it's unlikely for those who have contracted stupidity for life
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 16, 2017
PS @idiot illiterate troll

not a liberal
also not a conservative
in fact, i hate politics *almost* as much as i hate religion

and twenty seconds of searching or reading on PO would have told you that
LOL

as for filing you under conspiracist, you have demonstrated in just a few short posts that you're the idiot who thinks some freely available picture of a baby is evidence of eugenics just because the above authors were attempting to learn where racial bias comes from
Differential experience leads infants to have perceptual processing advantages for own- over other-race faces, but whether this experience has downstream consequences is unknown
two studies
you ignored both and looked at the picture while making ASSumptions
then threw in eugenics because the baby in the pic is white while ignoring that the studies were in China

stun us all again with your intellect... it's quite telling about your own neurosis
readerswrite
1 / 5 (3) Apr 17, 2017
In addition to what I wrote, you are projecting on me your flaws and intentions.

You wrote I am driven by fear but is is obvious that at the root of your beliefs on the subject of this article is fear that whites due to their racism will do something horrible to non-whites.

You imply that I am a conspiracy theory nut but it is you who apparently believes in whites' conspiracy to acquire the so-called privilege and supremacy.

You charge me with stupidity while in a way characteristic to those who fail IQ tests you refuse to see the obvious pattern in articles about "infants' racism" like the ones discussed above.

And then you resort to vulgarities.

Your projection just unveils the state of your mind. You may try to play your favorite trick "it is you who do this, not I", but it is a flimsy defense.

Well, you may well be a hopeless case of an "idealist" fantasizing of re-engineering human beings and "scientificaly" designing collectivist utopia.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Apr 17, 2017
@illiterate
you are projecting on me your flaws and intentions
really?
so what does that mean about your suggestion that an open source free picture applied to a chinese study with local kids is proof if eugenics to "re-engineer the white race"????
ROTFLMFAO
but it is you who apparently believes in whites' conspiracy to acquire the so-called privilege and supremacy
that is flat out transference - and funny to boot!
1- i aint white
2- you're the one suggesting "re-engineer the white race"
LMFAO
And then you resort to vulgarities
you mean like your idiotic second post?
you are really hilarious!
perhaps you should use this link - it'll help you
http://www.readingbear.org/

anyone who is semi-literate can see that your entire series of posts is transference wrapped in conspiracist ideation

hell, you can't even comprehend what i said

thanks for the laugh though!
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Apr 22, 2017
Racial bias is tribalism, pseudospeciation, the 'urge to diverge'. Its biological.

A group invests much time and effort over many gens adapting to the specifics of a particular environment, and comingling with outsiders jeopardizes that effort. It produces offspring less fit to survive in that environment.

Sure it doesnt quite apply with modern humans. It is dangerous to social harmony and the concept of the universal tribe. But as it is biological one can only hope to encourage people to ignore it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Apr 23, 2017
Yo ira
Biological racism is a relatively new phenomenon in human history. Seven or six hundred years old. Before that racism was based on culture and civilization, not blood
Speciation is biological. Humans are animals. So we should expect to see some expression of speciation in humans.

" if the parents of the hybrid offspring each have naturally selected traits for their own certain environments, the hybrid offspring will bear traits from both, therefore would not fit either ecological niche as well as either parent. The low fitness of the hybrids would cause selection to favor assortative mating, which would control hybridization. This is sometimes called the Wallace effect..."
Cont>
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Apr 23, 2017
"Hybrid zones are regions where diverged populations meet and interbreed. Hybrid offspring are very common in these regions, which are usually created by diverged species coming into secondary contact. Without reinforcement, the two species would have uncontrollable inbreeding."

-The US is an artificial hybrid zone. It was created to recombine and rehomogenize the species. Its creators understood that tribalism was the single greatest danger to our species, and knew that this was the only way to deal with it.

"One nation under god; indivisible..." is a goal not an observation. And with each successive wave of immigrants we get closer to this goal and the reality of the universal tribe.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Apr 23, 2017
I have been in an interracial marriage for sixteen years
And BTW congrats on your successful domestication. 'Domestic life' is what they call it yes?

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