Upload new images. The image library for this site will open in a new window.
Upload new documents. The document library for this site will open in a new window.
Show web part zones on the page. Web parts can be added to display dynamic content such as calendars or photo galleries.
Choose between different arrangements of page sections. Page layouts can be changed even after content has been added.
Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.
Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.
Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.
Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.
Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.
Cycle through size options for this image or video.
Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.
Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.
Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.
Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.
Remove the video from the media panel.
Lillian May Clark sits on the lap of her mother, Kimberly Clark, and looks at images of faces shown to her by undergraduate research assistant Jennie Lowe.
New research by a University of Delaware
psychological scientist and his collaborators across the globe has
found a simple exercise that can undo the unconscious racial biases that
young children have biases that may begin to develop as early as
The findings are part of an ongoing, multi-country collaboration that has been conducted by Paul Quinn, professor of psychological and brain sciences
at UD, for more than a decade. Funded by a National Institutes of
Health (NIH) grant, Quinn works with researchers in Canada, France and
China to explore how infants mentally classify faces by race and gender.
This research has recently received attention in The New York Times and The Guardian.
Using an established technique of measuring how much time the babies
spend looking at pictures of faces, Quinn has learned that 3-month-olds
begin showing a visual preference for the categories generally, female
and the same race as themselves that they see most often in their
By 9 months of age, infants not only distinguish racial categories
but also become less able to tell different individuals apart if they
are members of a less-familiar race. For example, Caucasian infants can
identify Caucasian faces as belonging to different individuals, but they
are less likely to see Asian or African faces as distinct individuals.
Our original thinking about the 9-month-old findings was that this
process that we call narrowing is based on visual perception, not any
social bias, Quinn said. But then the question we asked was: Might
these perceptual biases we see in infants be related to the social
biases that we see in older kids, beginning at 3 or 4 years of age, and
And if they are, can we use a technique to reduce bias? As we tried
to answer this question, we hit on the idea that if the perceptual and
social biases are linked, we might be able to reduce the social bias by
In this new study, published in July in the journal Developmental Science,
Quinn and his collaborators in China used photos of African and Asian
faces and morphed them together to create ambiguous images that looked
equally African and Asian. Some of the faces had pleasant expressions,
while others looked more severe.
When researchers showed the images to 4- to 6-year-olds in China, the
children identified the happy faces as Asian the category they were
used to seeing and the angry faces as African, a group they rarely saw
in daily life.
The scientists next step was to see whether the childrens
unconscious racial biases could be disrupted. They showed the youngsters
five different African faces and gave each of the individuals a name,
repeating the process until the children could identify each of the five
faces by name.
When the children then looked at the happy and angry ambiguous-race
photos again, their bias in favor of their own racial group had dropped
This process of getting the kids to respond to the [five African]
faces as individuals, not as a category, only takes 15-30 minutes, and
it made a significant difference, Quinn said. It suggests that what is
a social bias has [visual] perceptual components and that it can be
Many questions remain for further study, he said. Among them: After
children go through the face-identification exercise and reduce their
unconscious bias, how long does that effect last? Also, what aspect of
the training is the critical ingredient? Is it mere exposure, or is it
the act of individuation?
This has caused us to rethink whats going on in the link between
perception and social bias, Quinn said. There are a number of avenues
we want to explore.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
A certificate of appreciation is presented to Lillian and her parents, Kimberly and Jason Clark, by (from left) Jennie Lowe, Paul Quinn, recent graduate and research assistant Kate Cramer and (far right) research associate Laurie Yarzab.
Another, related study that Quinn conducted in his lab at UD with
babies from the Newark, Delaware, area has been published online by Developmental Science, with print publication expected in the future.
In this study, researchers worked with Caucasian babies to explore
how and at what ages they began forming categories of people based on
the racial characteristics of faces.
At 6 months, Quinn said, the infants were classifying faces into
three groups Caucasian, African and Asian. But just a few months
later, they had grouped the African and Asian faces together into a
This was the surprise finding, Quinn said. At 9 months, they
didnt respond to the differences between the African and Asian
categories, but instead they had two broad categories, own race and
It doesnt seem to matter to a Caucasian infant who has seen mostly
Caucasian faces if a face is African or Asian. They only care that its
not Caucasian. We think it might be a precursor to an initial in
group-out group differentiation of faces.
This result suggests that perceptual and social processing of faces may overlap even in infants.
Again, the findings suggest other issues to explore. A current study
is investigating whether infants have positive associations with faces
of their own, familiar race and more negative associations with less
familiar faces from other races.
All the research that Quinn and his collaborators have been
conducting since their initial NIH grant in 2004 centers on category
formation a basic cognitive process in which very young babies begin
mentally classifying objects and animals in a way that, for example,
sets apart squares from triangles and cats from dogs. Extending that
research to faces led to the findings that infants also categorize
images of people by gender and race.