Department of Psychology
Previous studies (Madole, Eastman, Stone, & White, 2005) have suggested that children do not make inferences about people on the basis of race until around 8 years of age. The present study was a replication of a study performed by Madole et al. The distinction between the two studies was in the sample used, hi the previous study the majority of children used were Caucasian. The present study sought to examine whether African American children were more likely to make inferences on the basis of race than Caucasian children. Children ages 6 to 11 years were asked to perform an inference task. The inference task consisted of the children looking at a target picture and two comparison sets of pictures. The children were then asked to choose which set of pictures was more comparable to the target picture based on a novel characteristic. These characteristics were social, biological, and individual in nature. There was also a control task in which trivial characteristics were used. The children were able to make their choices based on age, race, or sex. I hypothesized that the sample of African American children would more often choose their matches in the inference task based on race. I believed that this choice would be made across all characteristics as well as the control tasks. I also believed that older children would more often make matches according to race than younger children. Lastly, I expected that the sample in the current study would more often make matches based on race than the sample in the Madole et al. study. The analyses indicated that the children in the current study made more age-based inferences than race- or sex-based inferences. They only made more race-based inferences when given social attributes. They did not make more race-based inferences than the children in the Madole et al. study.
Hightower, Erica, "African American Children's Inferences Based on Race, Sex and Age" (2006). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 278.