Examining Children’s Implicit Racial Attitudes Using Exemplar and Category-Based Measures

Amanda Williams*, Jennifer R Steele

*Corresponding author for this work

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

16 Citations (Scopus)
443 Downloads (Pure)


The goal of this research was to examine children’s implicit racial attitudes. Across three studies, a total of 359 White 5- to 12-year-olds completed child-friendly exemplar (Affective Priming Task; Affect Misattribution Procedure) and category-based (Implicit Association Test) implicit measures of racial attitudes. Younger children (5- to 8-year-olds) showed automatic ingroup positivity toward White child exemplars, whereas older children (9- to 12-year-olds) did not. Children also showed no evidence of automatic negativity toward Black exemplars, despite demonstrating consistent pro-White versus Black bias on the category-based measure. Together, the results suggest that (a) implicit ingroup and outgroup attitudes can follow distinct developmental trajectories, and (b) the spontaneous activation of implicit intergroup attitudes can depend on the salience of race.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e322-e338
Number of pages17
JournalChild Development
Issue number3
Early online date8 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Psychological Approaches for Studying Education


  • prejudice development,
  • implicit attitudes
  • racial attitudes,


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