Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2013 Sophie Beiers
Studies have shown that adults often categorize mixed-race individuals of White and non-White descent as members of the non-White racial group, an effect said to be reminiscent of the “hypodescent” or “one-drop rule.” This effect has not yet been thoroughly studied in infants, although 9-month-old infants have been shown to be able to categorize mono-racial faces into different racial groups. In the present study, the perception of mixed-race White and Asian/Asian American faces was studied in sixteen 8.5-month-old infants. The infants were randomly assigned to two stimulus groups. The stimuli were the photographed faces of female college students who had self-identified as White, Asian/Asian American, or a 50-50 mix of those two races. Half the infants were habituated to White faces and half were habituated to Asian/Asian American faces, after which all infants were shown a mixed-race face. The results revealed that only infants in the White stimulus group recovered looking to the mixed-race face. This effect suggests that 8.5- month-old infants might see the mixed-race face as part of a different racial group than the White faces, and may see the mixed-race face as part of the same racial group as the Asian faces. Implications of this study on a larger scale are discussed. Further research including a larger sample size and participants of Asian/Asian American descent is recommended.
Beiers, Sophie, "Infant Perceptions of Mixed-Race Faces: An Exploration of the Hypodescent Rule in 8.5 Month-Old Infants" (2013). Pitzer Senior Theses. 46.