The nature versus nurture debate when it comes to racism is an age-old one. A new study from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst purports to have discovered new evidence of how early racial bias and prejudice can begin. Reportedly signs appeared in their test subjects as early as 9 months old. The Huffington Post reports:

Adults have more difficulty recognizing faces that belong to people of another race, and this deficit appears to start early.

New research indicates that by the time they are 9 months old, babies are better able to recognize faces and emotional expressions of people who belong to the group they interact with most, than they are those of people who belong to another race.

Babies don’t start out this way; younger infants appear equally able to tell people apart, regardless of race.

“These results suggest that biases in face recognition and perception begin in preverbal infants, well before concepts about race are formed. It is important for us to understand the nature of these biases in order to reduce or eliminate [the biases],” said study researcher Lisa Scott, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in a statement. [3-Year-Olds Fancy Own Ethnic Group]

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