Racial bias in pain perception appears among children as young as 7

Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 02:01 in Psychology & Sociology

A new psychology study has found that a sample of mostly white American children -- as young as seven, and particularly by age 10 -- report that black children feel less pain than white children. The author noted that this finding is important because many kinds of explicit biases emerge in early childhood, but those types of biases often decline in later childhood. However, the racial bias in children's perceptions of others' pain appears to strengthen from early to late childhood. The scope of the study does not explain why children are exhibiting this bias; however, the collaborators have research showing that one reason adults perceive black people as feeling less pain is because they assume black people have experienced more hardship in their lives. The researchers currently are investigating whether such perceptions may explain this bias in children.

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