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Essentialist thinking predicts decrements in children's memory for racially ambiguous faces.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Gaither, SE; Schultz, JR; Pauker, K; Sommers, SR; Maddox, KB; Ambady, N
Published in: Developmental psychology
February 2014

Past research shows that adults often display poor memory for racially ambiguous and racial outgroup faces, with both face types remembered worse than own-race faces. In the present study, the authors examined whether children also show this pattern of results. They also examined whether emerging essentialist thinking about race predicts children's memory for faces. Seventy-four White children (ages 4-9 years) completed a face-memory task comprising White, Black, and racially ambiguous Black-White faces. Essentialist thinking about race was also assessed (i.e., thinking of race as immutable and biologically based). White children who used essentialist thinking showed the same bias as White adults: They remembered White faces significantly better than they remembered ambiguous and Black faces. However, children who did not use essentialist thinking remembered both White and racially ambiguous faces significantly better than they remembered Black faces. This finding suggests a specific shift in racial thinking wherein the boundaries between racial groups become more discrete, highlighting the importance of how race is conceptualized in judgments of racially ambiguous individuals.

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Published In

Developmental psychology

DOI

EISSN

1939-0599

ISSN

0012-1649

Publication Date

February 2014

Volume

50

Issue

2

Start / End Page

482 / 488

Related Subject Headings

  • White People
  • Thinking
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Racial Groups
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Male
  • Judgment
  • Humans
  • Female
  • Face
 

Citation

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Gaither, S. E., Schultz, J. R., Pauker, K., Sommers, S. R., Maddox, K. B., & Ambady, N. (2014). Essentialist thinking predicts decrements in children's memory for racially ambiguous faces. Developmental Psychology, 50(2), 482–488. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033493
Gaither, Sarah E., Jennifer R. Schultz, Kristin Pauker, Samuel R. Sommers, Keith B. Maddox, and Nalini Ambady. “Essentialist thinking predicts decrements in children's memory for racially ambiguous faces.Developmental Psychology 50, no. 2 (February 2014): 482–88. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033493.
Gaither SE, Schultz JR, Pauker K, Sommers SR, Maddox KB, Ambady N. Essentialist thinking predicts decrements in children's memory for racially ambiguous faces. Developmental psychology. 2014 Feb;50(2):482–8.
Gaither, Sarah E., et al. “Essentialist thinking predicts decrements in children's memory for racially ambiguous faces.Developmental Psychology, vol. 50, no. 2, Feb. 2014, pp. 482–88. Epmc, doi:10.1037/a0033493.
Gaither SE, Schultz JR, Pauker K, Sommers SR, Maddox KB, Ambady N. Essentialist thinking predicts decrements in children's memory for racially ambiguous faces. Developmental psychology. 2014 Feb;50(2):482–488.

Published In

Developmental psychology

DOI

EISSN

1939-0599

ISSN

0012-1649

Publication Date

February 2014

Volume

50

Issue

2

Start / End Page

482 / 488

Related Subject Headings

  • White People
  • Thinking
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Racial Groups
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Male
  • Judgment
  • Humans
  • Female
  • Face