There’s some intriguing new brain science going on that might tell us interesting things about racial prejudice.
As it’s gotten less and less acceptable for people to express explicitly racist beliefs and opinions, many researchers have turned their attention to so-called implicit bias, or the subtle, often unconscious ways people respond to people of different races (or gender, or anything else that’s quickly visible). A lot of implicit bias comes down to how we process faces. After all, we’re evolved to form quick, gut-level impressions of faces, to determine, as accurately as possible, whether someone might wish us harm or might help us. And sometimes these gut-level impressions can feed into prejudice.
The problem is that we’re not sure exactly how to “fix” implicit bias. Some researchers think that making people aware of it can help, but beyond that social science has, for understandable reasons given the subject’s complexity, done a lot more to explore the problem than to propose straightforward solutions.
One intriguing possibility is that our responses to the faces of so-called outgroup members is partly set at childhood. New, intriguing research suggests that early-childhood exposure to diverse faces causes people to be less susceptible to certain sorts of implicit bias.
– Jesse Singal
Read more: What Does Diversity Do To Kids’ Brains?