Racial Homogeneity in Early Childhood May Affect Brain

Laura Sanders, Science News, August 13, 2013

Seeing people of different races early in life may sculpt the developing brain, a new study suggests. Children who spent infancy in Chinese or Russian orphanages with little contact from outsiders had difficulty perceiving emotions on faces of people of unfamiliar races. These children also showed heightened brain responses to faces of unfamiliar races.


Although the results, published in the Aug. 14 Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that race shapes the brain during infancy, the study can’t say what such a brain change might mean, says study coauthor Eva Telzer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Our findings do not say anything about children’s behavior in their daily life.”

Telzer and her colleagues studied one of the few populations that could help reveal these effects: orphans who the researchers believe lived amid a single race of people early in life. Most of these 36 children spent time in Russian or Chinese orphanages and were later adopted by American families of European descent. On average, the kids were adopted when they were 2 to 3 years old and were between 6 and 16 years old at the time of the study.

The children looked at a computer screen with a face showing a happy or angry expression. The kids then had to find that same expression on one of two new faces. Overall, the orphans performed just as well as 13 kids from Los Angeles, who presumably grew up seeing lots of people of other races. But the adopted kids were worse at matching emotions of faces of different races. The Asian kids were worse at matching expressions when the faces were European, and the European kids were worse at matching expressions of Asian faces.

Among the adopted kids, brain scans revealed a heightened level of activity in the amygdala while looking at faces of unfamiliar races. The amygdala is a brain region sensitive to surprising events and threats. The longer the children had spent in an orphanage, the team found, the greater the amygdala response.

Telzer thinks the children’s early racial environment tuned their developing brains. “Individuals are not born with biases to their own races,” she says. Instead, exposure to a particular racial group early in life primes the brain to become expert at recognizing faces of that racial group. This expertise may come at a cost, though, leaving the brain worse at handling faces of other races.

It’s well known that adverse environments—such as those found in some orphanages—can cause profound brain and behavioral deficits. So a hard orphanage life, and not necessarily a lack of racial diversity, could have influenced the results, says neuroscientist Charles Nelson of Harvard Medical School. {snip}

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  • MekongDelta69

    “…study coauthor Eva Telzer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.”

    Jeez – every day – another useless, anti-white ‘study’ from some brain-dead idiot at some marxist college.

    Every. Single. Day.

    • din_do_nuffins

      Not brain-dead idiots. They are career climbers and know what to say and when to say it. They are shrewd opportunists. We are the idiots, because we fall behind while they climb ahead.

      • MekongDelta69

        We are the idiots, because we fall behind while they climb ahead.”

        I respectfully disagree (and you can call me (i.e. us) [an] ‘idiot[s]’ all you want, if you feel the need), but there’s NO way, I’m trading my soul in, just so I can “climb ahead.”

      • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

        I remind you of the frog in the boiling pot allegory. As a reptile, frogs don’t notice as the heat goes up on the water until it is too late and they are cooked. Humans aren’t reptiles and shouldn’t limit their thinking to the reptilian level.

        • ms_anthro

          Frogs are amphibians, not reptiles.

          • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

            Oh yeah. They are both branches in herpetology. Thanks for the correction. The allegory stands however, because they are both cold blooded. Both a snake and a frog would not notice the boiling water. But you get your brownie button today, well done.

    • Sick of it

      Eva Telzer

      • Romulus

        Two of my comments about the above pic. Seem to have evaporated. I checked the entire thread. The pic. Shows exactly what I expected of a pseudo-intellectual social engineer.

      • RisingReich

        This website loves to silence those that dare speak the truth about the tribe.
        There were a few very good comments that were earlier deleted not because someone was ‘inciting’ hatred or whatever towards members of the tribe, but because they merely referred to the tribe in a ‘negative way’.

        The moderators and the owner of this site daily delete comments that root to the heart of the issue.

        Sad but true.

        All I can say – is get an eye full of the picture – your internal radar will fill in the rest of the story.

  • David Ashton

    Why shouldn’t children identify with people who resemble themselves and/or their parents and siblings? What do you expect to see in a mirror? Are all the children raised in a racially homogenous society damaged, past and present? Why do small children of different races play together without much difficulty, with racial consciousness becoming problematic during adolescence?

    • pcmustgo

      It’s not just “looks”. It’s the fact that blacks and whites, latinos, hell, even asians are TOTALLY DIFFERENT CULTURES. Even most Asians are “immigrant types” and therefore too different and not on the same page as your average white.

      • pcmustgo

        And as people have pointed out, adversarial cultures.

        • So CAL Snowman

          Yeah I LOVE how the liberal lefties like to shut their eyes and hum really loud and pretend that all non Whites get along perfectly. They act like there is no friction between different Asian groups or different Latino groups, etc. It’s like liberals deliberately disregard all of world history and instead project what they want the world to be as their reality.

          • Sick of it

            They’re deconstructing the natural world to produce their elitist utopia.

          • Luca

            Liberals deny history, facts, logic, science and common sense. Therefore, in my mind, Liberalism is a cult. It’s followers have been completely brain washed by a tsunami of propaganda and indoctrination.

  • Isn’t there anyone, ANYONE, an aspiring republican perhaps, willing to scrutinize this theory?
    I didn’t grow up with much diversity, but I will say that I am an Amren reader because of diversity.

    • So CAL Snowman

      Exactly, without diversity and multiculturalism being foisted on the West, Amren, Occidental Dissident, V-Dare, SBPDL, and many others wouldn’t even exist!

    • Libertarian67

      Yes, black LT in the Navy made my life a living hell for almost 2 years onboard ship, blacks on the ship threatening and stealing, got out went back to Detroit area where blacks stole, hurt and killed because they felt they deserved what you had earned, moved West to CA where Mexicans refused to speak English and expected me to speak Spanish (which to this day I refuse to learn), finally went in the PNW and found almost everybody was white. Funny, other than petty crime and drunken fights crime was almost non-existent. almost everybody worked that could and I was not afraid to be out at night. I have lived like this ever since where the cities I live in are almost 100% white so the schools are safe and it is safe to be out after dark.
      As a youth I was taught that it is wrong to be “prejudiced” and I bought into that crap for a while. It was “Diversity” in general and blacks in particular where I learned this is all hogwash and that the stereotypes are true and that blacks and browns are scum.

  • din_do_nuffins

    We aren’t allowed to talk about racial differences in IQ (race doesn’t exist), but we MUST talk about racial differences when some children “do the right thing and abandon their White privilege at the earliest ages thanks to enriching Diversity.”

    • So CAL Snowman

      White people are born with the ORIGINAL SIN of Whiteness according to the religion of diversity.

  • Sue

    Oh BS! Even dogs know the differences!

    • bigone4u

      Besides their beauty, loyalty, and intelligence, dogs often have more character than the species of human known as the liberal. Yes, dogs can sniff out black’s lack of character on the spot.

      • Sue

        The Nordic breeds both human and canine are the most beautiful in the world.

    • Spartacus

      Dogs are smarted than dark-skins .

  • bigone4u

    I was three years old before I saw my first black. Naturally, a government employee–the mailman. It made me poo in my drawers. I did not get punished, since even mom was scared of the big monster-looking thing. She, however, controlled her functions better than me.

    • I am guessing I was older than that. Life was good back then.

    • Viv Jasper

      You’re lucky. I grew up in a neighborhood where we were surrounded by blacks and Mexicans. I didn’t have a single white kid my own age to play with, and my parents didn’t let me play outside in order to keep me safe. Even then I understood why, because the few times I went outdoors black and Mexican men would try to invite me into their houses or cars. So I spent my childhood basically hiding indoors. Ah, the joys of diversity.

      • Sick of it

        Hiding indoors was better than the alternative.

        • Viv Jasper

          I didn’t always appreciate it but understood that my parents had no choice. They did decide to forego all luxuries in order to send me to a private school, where I eventually made some nice white friends. My parents were awesome.

    • ShermanTMcCoy

      It made me “produce another black” in my pants.

      There, fixed it.

  • Luca

    This study is flawed from the beginning. Children orphaned and institutionalized at an early age already have issues not found in the general population of children with two-parent families. Lack of parental nurturing and bonding has profound effects on social behavior, brain growth and brain activity. At least they recognize this fact in the final sentence. So the question becomes, why even report or recognize a flawed study?

  • Extropico

    “Individuals are not born with biases to their own races…” It is preposterous to state that we don’t a primal safety zone for people with our own general phenotype.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      And what is that “statement of fact” based upon? Scientifically rigorous experimentation and valid inferential statistical analysis?

      No. It’s based on assumptions and ruminations backed up by highly partisan university social sciences and humanities types, who censor and lock out those who dare disagree with their (crypto-Marxist) pre-held ideology.

      One does not ever have to qualify a statement if it is ideologically acceptable. Such is assumed to be correct and need not be rigorously tested nor confirmed to then be used to justify and build another clever, baseless, untested (untestable?) notion masquerading as “theory” or “science”.

      These folks think “science” is all about proving their ideology and disproving any one else’s. I thought “science”, or more specifically the scientific method of inquiry, was all about determining what the truth, or as I like to put it, Truth, is.
      Lawyers are the folks who are trained to “prove” or “disprove” – the scientist discovers truth, and in the process may indeed prove or disprove, but such is not the purpose of the endeavor. Neither is discovery of the Truth the purpose of education these days. It’s all about proving something, even at the cost of your kids and our future.

      For the hardcore liblefty crusading do-gooder, you are expendable if you do not fit the proof…and damn the science if it be racist!

  • Daniel Schmuhl

    There are some *scientists* who are basically political activists in lab coats.

    • dd121

      We’ve all heard the stories of how they cook the books on “global warming”.

  • Spartacus

    “Individuals are not born with biases to their own races”


    That’s because people didn’t need to before. Not that long ago(in historical perspective), almost nobody ever saw anyone of another race, hence biases towards their own race were not necessary . They only appear after contact with people of other races.On a more personal note, I never hated gypsies before I actually knew them…

  • Romulus

    If it smells like crap! Offspring are predisposed by evolution itself to bond and familiarize with their own group. In a manner of speaking, it helps keep humanity actual diverse. This study is another useless piece of garbage to mish mash all ethnicities in one giant mess.

  • Romulus

    In a related story, I had the pleasure of seeing my new nordic Lithuanian neighbors GERMAN shepherd go ballistic at a few yoof pedestrians this evening, while enjoying a beverage. I laughed so hard, it blew out my nose.

  • NorthernWind

    “Individuals are not born with biases to their own races,” she says.

    This seems like a stretch based on what was discovered. The study merely found that if you weren’t exposed to other races when very young that you will have a harder time at interpreting their facial expressions. It makes me think of learning a language; people are typically more proficient at languages they learned as children than languages they learned as adults. This is exactly what you would expect to find but it doesn’t suggest that children who were exposed to other races at birth will become color-blind as adults. There is a good chance that they will nonetheless have preference for their own race, for a number of reasons.

  • IKantunderstand

    This was considered to be a serious scientific study? Thirteen kids from L.A.? What race? What, oh, never mind. We all know that these so called purported studies are nothing but more attempts at propaganda. Why don’t they save some time and just call all future studies, and while they are at it, save everybody some time and name half of the studies in colleges and universities:”White people bad, people of color good”. And be done with it.

  • Funruffian

    This article flip flops on its contention. What’s the verdict? Do children surrounded by other races have harder times coping or not?

  • Evette Coutier

    If you do an internet search for baby lab, you will find that researchers have already discovered that babies, even before socialization is possible, choose to be with others of their own race. By liberals always pace their agenda before fact.

    • Romulus

      That’s the study I remember. Just couldn’t recall the lab. I read that in my regional newspaper. The less than one yr old babies were shown pictures of adults that resembles them . The babies instinctively touched the pictures of the adults that most closely resembled their parents.

  • bigone4u

    I love the pitbulls. Unfortunately blacks and browns have taken their protective instinct and perverted it. Today’s Daily Mail has a story of a Baltimore police officer who was called to take out a pit bull and wound up adopting him after the poor dog came up and licked his face. He’s used in advertising to try to convince minorities not to abuse pitbull.


  • Randall Ward

    Another meaningless study that reports some facts and ties the facts to something not affected by the facts. Who knows why the reactions of Russian orphans are what they are, and what caused the reactions? Certain people like chocolate cup cakes, what does that mean?

  • IstvanIN

    Not true. At between three and four my daughter pointed to a women in the supermarket and blurted out “look at the monkey”. I am not the only one with a similar story. Kids know.

    • Sick of it

      I have a relative who blurted out something much less nice when she was a kid.

    • ShermanTMcCoy

      My then 4-year-old son pointed out a black sow and called out , “It’s a baboon!”

      Kids are smarter than we often give them credit for.

  • sbuffalonative

    It may be true that early interaction with different races may make them less aware of race, at first.

    Over time, gene-driven (race) behavior will rear it’s head. At a young age, they may not see the difference but as they get older they will experience the difference.

    Years ago, I read an article by a white man who adopted a black child with his wife. They were determined not to mention race believing that the child would grow up to be unaware of race.

    One night as the man was putting his adopted black son to bed, the boy pointed to his skin and to his adopted fathers skin without saying a word.

    The father knew immediately what it meant. Despite his best efforts, the boy was aware of the differences.

    What I also found remarkable about this story is that the boy POINTED to the differences in skin color but didn’t say anything.

    What this said to me is that because the white father and mother never talked about their different skin colors, the boy saw it as something that wasn’t to be spoken of. Hence he only pointed at the differences without saying anything.

    We can try to deny race but it’s real. We see it. We know it. Even a little black boy wasn’t blind to the differences. The only thing he learned was that he wasn’t supposed to talk about.

    • Irishgirl

      A (white) friend told me this story about his (blonde) daughter:

      When the girl was about 4, they took a train ride and she saw blacks for the first time. She didn’t get upset; she just leaned towards her father and very seriously told him, “Daddy, I don’t want to ever have black skin – it’s gross.”

  • Freedom Hayak

    And in conclusion, this waste of time, urr, I mean study, produced no useful information, no valuable conclusions and nothing of note about the general population’s perceptions of race and emotion. Which is enough to warrant a 10-part award winning series on racism from the New York Times.

  • NeanderthalDNA

    Sometimes the edit function works, sometimes it does not. Guess I shouldn’t rely on it so much. Imperfect world.

    • Scratch out “world” and replace it with “Disqus.”

  • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

    This is not such a brilliant observation and it is also an incomplete one.

    I give you the example from real life with a chicken subject. My sister used to keep about 30-40 chickens back in the 70s. She raised one of her chicks with a pup German Shepherd they had at the time. It was cute and very funny to watch as the chick grew up thinking that it was a dog. But then one day, the now grown chicken saw some dogs up the dirt street and ran up to meet them. They tore it apart.

    Brainwashing is quite possible and best accomplished in the very young. This is one reason when babies and little children are baptized or indoctrinated into any religion or cult or culture (notice the common roots of those two words). This doesn’t mean that there is an instinctual bias for one’s own racial, ethnic group. To suppose there is no genetic instinct is to deny that evolution has anything to do with risk recognition. Not being able to recognize emotions on faces not like your own races or groups is what allowed humans to develop into their magnificent varieties. The religion of Socialism seeks to deny natural law and evolution by abusing science to make a politically driven pronouncement about the meaning of what it is to be human. This is a kind of crime, in my view.