Perceptual Individuation Training (but Not Mere Exposure) Reduces Implicit Racial Bias in Preschool Children

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Two studies with preschool-age children examined the effectiveness of perceptual individuation training at reducing racial bias (Study 1, N = 32; Study 2, N = 56). We found that training preschool-age children to individuate other-race faces resulted in a reduction in implicit racial bias while mere exposure to other-race faces produced no such effect. We also showed that neither individuation training nor mere exposure reduced explicit racial bias. Theoretically, our findings provide strong evidence for a causal link between individual-level face processing and implicit racial bias, and are consistent with the newly proposed perceptual-social linkage hypothesis. Practically, our findings suggest that offering children experiences that allow them to increase their expertise in processing individual other-race faces will help reduce their implicit racial bias.

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