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Does Racism Start When You’re a Baby? New Research Says…

Babies on August 21, 2012 in Springfield, Virginia.
Alex Wong, Getty Images

Some interesting new research has come to light that reveals infants may actually hold the answers to racism in our society, long before they are able to do much more than eat and sleep.

Paul Quinn, a psychologist from the University of Delaware recently discovered that babies appear to be able to distinguish race and gender by the time they are three months old, but by the time they turn nine months, they appear to have trouble identifying the faces of people who are not of their race.

According to researchers, three-month-old Caucasian babies seem to be more attracted to Caucasian faces rather than Asian faces, based on the length of time they stared their faces.

Researchers say that infants have a tendency to stare at things longer when they are unfamiliar with it, spending less time staring at things they are familiar with.

The study was conducted by showing a group of infants some photographs of Africans, Caucasians, East Asians and South Asians, while examining the length of time each baby focused his or her attention on the picture.

What they found was that three-month-olds seem to fully recognize all races, but lose that ability about the time they reach nine months, raising the question of whether this behavior can be altered?

To find out, researchers showed videos of Asian faces to eight-month-old Caucasian babies every day for nearly two weeks. Quinn said that he and his staff “were able to reverse the way their perception [otherwise] narrowed.”

Quinn also found that infants were particularly attracted to the same gender as their primary caregiver.

Study experts say that this phenomenon could run deep in evolutionary roots, due to the fact that distinguishing between people in other tribes was so crucial in ancient times.

Researchers add that their study may offer possibilities in reversing racism and sexism.

[Medical Daily]

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