Children's racial categorization in context

Kristin Pauker, Amanda Williams, Jennifer Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
367 Downloads (Pure)


The ability to discriminate visually based on race emerges early in infancy: 3-month-olds can perceptually differentiate and 6-month-olds can perceptually categorize faces by race. Between ages 6 and 8 years,children can sort others into racial groups. But to what extent are these abilities influenced by context? In this article, we review studies on children’s racial categorization and discuss how our conclusions are affected by how we ask the questions (i.e., our methods and stimuli),where we ask them (i.e., the diversity of the child’s surrounding environment), and whom we ask (i.e., the diversity of the children we study). Taken together, we suggest that despite a developmental readiness to categorize others by race, the use of race as a psychologically salient basis for categorization is far from inevitable and is shaped largely by the experimental setting and the greater cultural context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalChild development perspectives
Issue number1
Early online date22 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2016

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Psychological Approaches for Studying Education


  • racial categorization
  • racial stereotyping and prejudice
  • social development


Dive into the research topics of 'Children's racial categorization in context'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this