Adults have more difficulty recognizing faces that belong to people of another race, and this deficit appears to start early.
New research indicates that by the time they are 9 months old, babies are better able to recognize faces and emotional expressions of people who belong to the group they interact with most, than they are those of people who belong to another race.
Babies don’t start out this way; younger infants appear equally able to tell people apart, regardless of race.
“These results suggest that biases in face recognition and perception begin in preverbal infants, well before concepts about race are formed. It is important for us to understand the nature of these biases in order to reduce or eliminate [the biases],” said study researcher Lisa Scott, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in a statement.
In the study, 48 Caucasian infants were given the task of differentiating between faces of their own race and faces that belonged to another, unfamiliar, race. In another experiment, sensors placed on the babies’ heads detected brain activity when the babies saw images of faces of Caucasian or African-American races expressing emotions that either matched or did not match sounds they heard, such as laughing and crying.
The problem that jumps out at me is how they translate “better able to recognize faces and emotional expressions” into “racism.” I think this study would be more useful in detailing a baby’s cognitive development than it would be in studying racism.
But tying it to racism is sexier and more likely to result in a hefty research grant. It’s all about the Benjamins.
The sad part is people like Neblett will seize on studies like this to advance their race-baiting ideas.
Exit question: Why did they only test Caucasian babies?
If “racism” is defined as any form of noticing that there are physical differences between the races – anytime, anywhere, by anyone – then the concept has no political or moral meaning whatsoever. It is as neutral and uninteresting as eyelashes and fingernails. The “differently abled” or handicapped, according to this definition of racism, would be those who did not develop it. If it’s typical of babies in a study, regardless of race, then it’s – by definition – normal.