Our Biased Brains

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, May 6, 2015

To better understand the roots of racial division in America, think about this:

The human brain seems to be wired so that it categorizes people by race in the first one-fifth of a second after seeing a face. Brain scans show that even when people are told to sort people by gender, the brain still groups people by race.

Racial bias also begins astonishingly early: Even infants often show a preference for their own racial group. In one study, 3-month-old white infants were shown photos of faces of white adults and black adults; they preferred the faces of whites. For 3-month-old black infants living in Africa, it was the reverse.

This preference reflected what the child was accustomed to. Black infants living in overwhelmingly white Israel didn’t show a strong preference one way or the other, according to the study, published in Psychological Science.

Where does this ingrained propensity to racial bias come from?

Scholars suggest that in evolutionary times we became hard-wired to make instantaneous judgments about whether someone is in our “in group” or not–because that could be lifesaving. A child who didn’t prefer his or her own group might have been at risk of being clubbed to death.

{snip}

Many of these experiments on in-group bias have been conducted around the world, and almost every ethnic group shows a bias favoring its own. One exception: African-Americans.

Researchers find that in contrast to other groups, African-Americans do not have an unconscious bias toward their own. From young children to adults, they are essentially neutral and favor neither whites nor blacks.

Banaji and other scholars suggest that this is because even young African-American children somehow absorb the social construct that white skin is prestigious and that black skin isn’t. In one respect, that is unspeakably sad; in another, it’s a model of unconscious race neutrality. Yet even if we humans have evolved to have a penchant for racial preferences from a very young age, this is not destiny. We can resist the legacy that evolution has bequeathed us.

“We wouldn’t have survived if our ancestors hadn’t developed bodies that store sugar and fat,” Banaji says. “What made them survive is what kills us.” Yet we fight the battle of the bulge and sometimes win–and, likewise, we can resist a predisposition for bias against other groups.

One strategy that works is seeing images of heroic African-Americans; afterward, whites and Asians show less bias, a study found. Likewise, hearing a story in which a black person rescues someone from a white assailant reduces anti-black bias in subsequent testing. It’s not clear how long this effect lasts.

Deep friendships, especially romantic relationships with someone of another race, also seem to mute bias–and that, too, has implications for bringing young people together to forge powerful friendships.

{snip}

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  • dd121

    If it’s all based on a chemical reaction in the brain then I guess it’s better living through chemistry.

  • Many of these experiments on in-group bias have been conducted around the world, and almost every ethnic group shows a bias favoring its own. One exception: African-Americans.

    LSD is a powerful drug.

    • Chip Carver

      The usual suspects are relentless in their attacks on Whites – which in some areas are growing as ridiculous as they are irritating.

      • Tony Murphy

        And it’s becoming more obvious every day.

    • dukem1

      Perhaps because no matter what group they are shown, they intuit that they are looking up.

    • Dr. Rieux

      So they hate everybody equally. They get pleasure from seeing the suffering of other blacks, as well as whites and Asians?

    • Charles Martel

      Not even blacks want to be around blacks

    • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

      African-Americans do not have an unconscious bias toward their own.
      .
      The devil’s in the details. No unconscious bias. They’re entirely conscious about it…possibly the only consciousness they possess.

    • carriewhite64

      If I were African-American, I would not favor my own either.

  • WR_the_realist

    Banaji and other scholars suggest that this is because even young
    African-American children somehow absorb the social construct that white
    skin is prestigious and that black skin isn’t.

    How about the obvious explanation, which is of course beyond the comprehension of liberal sociologists — the natural tendency of African American children to favor their own race is offset by the understanding that their own race is loud, obnoxious, and dangerous, while the white race is not.

    • Dr. Rieux

      Whites and Asians tend to be gracile, lithe and athletic looking with sharp features the contrast of which are easily seen, and even blacks prefer other blacks with less negroid features. I will not say that it is a fact but our brains might be hard wired to recognize individuals with typically “white” features as more biologicallly fit.

  • superlloyd

    ‘One strategy that works is seeing images of heroic African-Americans.’ Good luck in finding any. Racial bias is hard wired as a defence mechanism melded through evolutionary time for good biological reasons. You’ll fail, libtards, to correct this.

    • Susannah

      There are certainly few real world examples of heroic blacks. This does not stop governmental indoctrination centers (schools, etc.) and the media from relentlessly fabricating their images and shoving them down our throats. It was old more than a couple of decades ago. Now it’s far beyond ridiculous.

      • Jaggers

        Hence the odious Tubman with her grotesque mug threatening to be on our currency.

    • Dr. Rieux

      The libtards will fail, but heaven only knows how much suffering they’ll cause to others trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.

      I hate libtards. In trying to create heaven on earth no amount of suffering is too much. Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were all libtards, who, in trying to bring heaven down to earth succeeded only in bringing hell up.

    • WR_the_realist

      All they have to do is watch enough television and movies. Hollywood provides us with plenty of heroic African-Americans, right alongside model thin 100 pound girls who can beat up burly bad guys in hand-to-hand combat, and wizards who can shoot fireballs out of their raised hands.

  • Who Me?

    “African-Americans do not have an unconscious bias toward their own.”
    ***************
    Author of this piece of garbage, Nicholas Kristof, apparently missed the whole O.J. trial? As well as many subsequent events. (Ferguson, Missouri ring a bell. Nicky?)

    • Luca D.

      His research did not included negro juries.

    • Good point. And the reaction from all those “unbiased” African Americans, who celebrated that “their man got off.” Or how about the fact that between candidates, 99% of blacks will vote their color.

    • pennawhytmn

      But those reactions were not caused by an inherent bias. They were resultant of “Da leg-c ub slabery an oppreshin dey endure ebry day in da rayciss Murika”, don’t you know.

  • guest

    “Where does this ingrained propensity to racial bias come from?”

    It comes from everyone’s experience with this enforced diversity and multiculturalism that nobody wanted or asked for. Mother Nature has given every living creature in this world the tendency to prefer being with their own kind and the multiculturalism-loving liberals and White race traitors who sell out their own people by writing junk like this are denying that natural instinct and deeming it to be wrong and immoral when in fact it’s as natural the sun rising every morning.

  • Luca D.

    “Where does this ingrained propensity to racial bias come from?”

    In simple terms, it’s known as ‘self-preservation’. It is the most basic instinct ingrained in all living organisms. Even a common housefly knows to avoid danger. But leave it to liberal scientists to try to convince us that self-preservation is wrong and encourage us to avoid and unlearn it.

  • Who Me?

    “Deep friendships, especially romantic relationships with someone of another race, also seem to mute bias–and that, too, has implications for bringing young people together to forge powerful friendships.”
    ************************
    Guess where THAT’S going?

    • Susannah

      Yes, and the promotion for kumbaya miscegenation has been vigorously ramped up in recent years. I have the feeling it’s just going to intensify to the point where people (Whites at least) will be vilified merely for wishing to date or marry someone of the same race.

      • John Smith

        I’ve read that porn “actresses” are bullied if they refuse to do such things with those accusations.

      • Lion’s Mane

        SLAVES are people whose deep friendships and marriages are regulated and controlled by their masters. Liberals just won’t leave people alone, to live free lives. They have to control everything, including our thoughts and our most intimate decisions. Yet many Americans today believe that they are “free”! Liberals arrange our lives and dictate our choices and then inform us that we are “free.” And today’s mainstream “conservatives” fail to see what is taking place.

      • Lion’s Mane

        I’ve already heard on television bitter complaints that whites are simply too reluctant and afraid to do the right thing by “engaging” (euphemism) non-whites more. The media talking heads make it clear that they want whites to procreate with anything but whites, so great is their hatred of whites.

  • Robert Binion

    You can go to youtube and watch Roger Allam as Falstaff orate beautifully, upward toward the galleries. Why do New York Timers always prate down to me? I do not begrudge Kristof his legacies. Can I not enjoy mine?

  • Hilis Hatki

    “Researchers find that in contrast to other groups, African-Americans do not have an unconscious bias toward their own. From young children to adults, they are essentially neutral and favor neither whites nor blacks.”

    Youtube, Worldstarhiphop and the majority of reality say different.
    A Black favors themselves over everyone including other blacks, therefore appearing neutral.
    Next, blacks favor “black group action” over everyone else.

    Agenda Scientific Method, determine your conclusion then find the facts and present them in a way that supports your conclusion.

    • Dr. X

      “Researchers find that in contrast to other groups, African-Americans do not have an unconscious bias toward their own.”

      That’s the biggest, most blatant falsehood I’ve ever read in my life. It flies in the face of ALL the evidence I’ve personally EVER observed — in reality, blacks are hyper-tribal, while Whites act on the “diversity” myth even even when it harms their own self-interest.

      It also flies in the face of logic and common sense. Are they telling us that everyone else in the world is, by nature and evolution, “guilty” of subconscious bias EXCEPT the Negro? If so, then why is the Negro any different? Only the Negro naturally exhibits “neutrality” from childhood and Asians, Whites, Jews, Indians and Aboriginals don’t? This is merely more of the “Holy Perfect Sainted Negro” propaganda that is incessantly shoved down our throats as “fact” by the leftist, uber-egalitarian government/negro/media complex.

  • Jason Lewis

    So our bias formed naturally thru biological and social evolution and we’re gonna change that using false heroic images?

    • David Ashton

      Google A.James Gregor on the Dynamics of (Racial) ‘Prejudice’ – sensible research before the iron curtain cam down.

    • John Smith

      They’re trying to change biology and basic human culture through promotion of homosexuality and gay marriage, so why not yet one more attempt to defy nature?

  • Caesar Avgvstvs

    People prefer to associate with their own ethno-racial kind. This is a fundamental axiom of human behavior. It’s also why any attempt at forced diversity and externally imposed harmony will lead to an explosion of ethno-nationalist violence and human tribalism. Only arrogance in the face of evolutionary biology allows the political elites to continue with their insane experiment in social engineering.

  • David Ashton

    Infants recognize and relate to adults who resemble their parents, siblings and themselves.

  • Mack0

    Opportunists tend to prefer others who have something they want. Blacks are opportunist. Blacks gain nothing by limiting their preferences to their own group. All parasitic organisms require a host to perpetuate themselves.

  • Ohhhhh, where to begin: So, of all the peoples of the world, African Americans don’t show any in group bias? Gosh, aren’t they nice? They aren’t racists after all. But, of all the races, why is it that it is blacks who cross racial boundaries when robbing, raping, and attacking others?
    And, of course, the oh so nice African Americans are race neutral, and that is given as an indication of the “white supremacy” that they are taught? So, we tell them they are inferior, and we are superior, and that makes them decide all people are just as good? Makes sense, huh? (NOT!)
    And, of course, evil Whites can learn to not be so biased, and be nice like those black people, by having interracial relationships. Yeah, it sure worked for Nicole Brown Simpson, right?
    The article does admit that perhaps in the past, this racial bias was a survival mechanism that helped our ancestors distinguish between friend and foe. Maybe they are on to something there. Hmmm….among strangers Whites are likely to be assaulted by blacks, but blacks are highly unlikely to be assaulted by persons of different races. Do you think that is why blacks can afford to be so race neutral? Hmmm….
    Well, anyway, it is getting close to evening now. I think I will take my bicycle out and take a ride through the park, maybe through nearby West Philadelphia. I am not worried about being attacked, or anything, because, fortunately, this article has taught me that blacks are not racist and therefore I have nothing to fear from them. (Yeah, right!)
    Yep, you can go on and on with this article.

  • Reynardine

    “The human brain seems to be wired so that it categorizes people by race in the first one-fifth of a second after seeing a face.”

    Race is just a social construct please move along.

    “Researchers find that in contrast to other groups, African-Americans do
    not have an unconscious bias toward their own. From young children to
    adults, they are essentially neutral and favor neither whites nor
    blacks.”

    Honestly, if I was black, I’d have a unconscious bias AGAINST other blacks, knowing I’m more likely to die or be robbed by a brother and helped out by YT.

    • As a group, blacks favor blacks. On the personal level, blacks distrust blacks. Why? Because blacks are around blacks!

  • Ohhhhh, where to
    begin: So, of all the peoples of the world, African Americans don’t show any in
    group bias? Gosh, aren’t they nice? They aren’t racists after all. But, of all
    the races, why is it that it is blacks who cross racial boundaries when
    robbing, raping, and attacking others?

    And, of course, the oh so nice African Americans are race neutral, and that is
    given as an indication of the “white supremacy” that they are taught?
    So, we tell them they are inferior, and we are superior, and that makes them
    decide all people are just as good? Makes sense, huh? (NOT!)

    And, of course, evil Whites can learn to not be so biased, and be nice like
    those black people, by having interracial relationships. Yeah, it sure worked
    for Nicole Brown Simpson, right?

    The article does admit that perhaps in the past, this racial bias was a
    survival mechanism that helped our ancestors distinguish between friend and
    foe. Maybe they are on to something there. Hmmm….among strangers Whites are
    likely to be assaulted by blacks, but blacks are highly unlikely to be
    assaulted by persons of different races. Do you think that is why blacks can
    afford to be so race neutral? Hmmm….

    Well, anyway, it is getting close to evening now. I think I will take my
    bicycle out and take a ride through the park, maybe through nearby West
    Philadelphia. I am not worried about being attacked, or anything, because,
    fortunately, this article has taught me that blacks are not racist and
    therefore I have nothing to fear from them. (Yeah, right!)

    Yep, you can go on and on with this article.

  • Dr. Rieux

    Please, Mr. Kristoff, a non-shellfish eater is close to the last person I’m going to believe on racial bias and prejudice.

    • John Smith

      Only gefilte fish, thanks.

  • Martel

    Africans have evolved differently, and measuring ethnocentrism might require a different methodology then the methods utilized for Europeans and Asians. What is clear is that Africans are far more conformist and tribal then Europeans and where they live in or near non-African communities they tend to support nationalist, supremacist or otherwise ethnocentric political movements.

  • jane johnson

    …and the Mayor is…

  • Greek

    “A child who didn’t prefer his or her own group might have been at risk of being clubbed to death.”

    Unfortunately, this sentence could still be used for whites today.

  • Cindy

    “Yet we fight the battle of the bulge and sometimes win–and, likewise, we can resist a predisposition for bias against other groups.”
    ——–
    Hey, guys, being non-racist has rewards, just like being thin has rewards! Cut back on calories, cut back on common sense, Utopia is right around the corner.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    Blacks are not as racially conscious as others? I think the strategy of the leftists is to say the most ridiculous thing that comes to mind and see how many people they can get to believe it (race is just a “social construct” anyone?) It’s a matter of throwing the stuff at a wall and seeing how much of it sticks.

    Anyone who grew up in a majority black city, as I did, knows that blacks are about the most racially conscious bunch out there. Anyone who didn’t have the benefit of such an experience can get it by walking through a black neighborhood after dark. I suggest that the author try it.

    • John Smith

      No one is allowed to doubt their proclamations, especially those within their camp of fellow travelers.

  • tetrapod

    This “study” assumes 3-month old whites and blacks are cognitively the same. Big assumption.

    • journey

      Exactly! The very interesting altruism toddler studies are mainly of whites.

    • actually, Black toddlers develop quicker and earlier than Whites. Physically. They hold up their head, sit, stand, walk earlier. I believe cognitive differences come later, too and are higher cognitive functioning.

      • John Smith

        Early hominids showed earlier development as well; it was only with the development of larger brains and more complex behaviors that human development began to slow down.

  • Lion’s Mane

    Ah! Problems!

    “We can resist the legacy that evolution has bequeathed us.”

    This is an imperative of liberalism: fight against evolution. Rebelling against Nature. Rather dangerous. According to liberals, evolution is deeply flawed and needs to be corrected and forced to conform to liberal ideals.

    “Deep friendships, especially romantic relationships with someone of another race, also seem to mute bias–and that, too, has implications for bringing young people together to forge powerful friendships.”

    This is the most scary thing. Who has the moral right to “bring young people together” for the purpose of creating “deep friendships” and “romantic relationships” of an inter-racial variety? This is as illiberal as traditional arranged marriages — a practice that has been abandoned in the name of promoting love.

    When citizens are obliged to give an accounting of their close personal relationships to those who hold political power and social authority, this marks the death of freedom. This is the war against Nature.

    How do liberals know that Nature does not know best?

  • HJ11

    I was born as a White racist. It is in my genes. I love it.
    By “White racist,” I mean that I and others also born with the White racist “gene” have a survival advantage. Because we are not racist by hate or bigotry, we can’t be deprogramed. Pray that you also have the White racist gene.

    • JohnnyMangoes

      How’s your love life? Serious question.

      I can’t imagine this kind of fantasy talk works well with the ladies.

  • HJ11

    I don’t care what Blacks or other non-Whites believe or don’t believe. They do not exist in my world as organisms to bother with. To me, they are like any other organism, with the one proviso that non-White humans can harm my kind directly or via bedroom genocide. I pray for the day when Whites reach full specieshood and can no longer bear children with any non-Whites.

  • freddy_hills

    “Many of these experiments on in-group bias have been conducted around the world, and almost every ethnic group shows a bias favoring its own. One exception: African-Americans.”

    Yet, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks attack whites at nearly 50 times the reverse. It’s not that blacks aren’t racist — plenty of studies and personal experience says they are — so much as even racist blacks subconsciously understand that whites are less of a threat to them than other blacks. Conversely, if whites make a subconscious connection between blacks and basketball it has nothing to do with whether or not the white person is racist and everything to do with blacks having a reputation for basketball.

    • LHathaway

      If you’re writing a kind of expose’ on the article or doing a parody of it, it’s working for me.

  • journey

    Humans are hardwired to prefer their own racial group. This is to encourage competition
    among the different racial groups.

    Black infants show no preference to their own race because their IQ/intelligence is not there to do so (to differentiate) not due to what the author(s) of the studies is wishing it to be. As for black adults showing no racial preference for their own, really? This is not shown by reality – out in the real community.

    It is common to interpret the results from studies in accordance with one’s preconceived ideas/beliefs. It takes a top notch ethical researcher not to do so.

    • jane johnson

      Yep. It’s called confirmation bias.

      • journey

        So, what about peer review? Oh, that’s right they in on it too.

  • LHathaway

    Liberal organs always tell the truth. And the moon is made of green cheese, also.

  • MekongDelta69

    Nicholas Kristof is (and always has been) a raging guilt-ridden, self-loathing, hypocritical, White leftist, who lives… in a White neighborhood.

  • Jack Burton

    Absolute BS. Watch the “doll tests.” It’s not just blacks either, BLACKS AND MESTIZOS prefer WHITE DOLLS. Children are more honest with their innate feelings as they haven’t been mentally assaulted by constant anti-white propaganda yet.

    I haven’t seen Asian children subjected to this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they mostly choose the white dolls as well.

    • I would guess that South East Asian kids prefer their own dolls. They don’t experience Whites as intellectually or morally superior.

      Blacks prefer white dolls. But they band together with other Blacks when fighting a whitey.

  • IstvanIN

    We have all seen or read about dogs adopting kittens, or lions rescuing baby monkeys, or some sort of trans-species adoption or helping, but it isn’t the norm, cats raise kittens, cows raise calves and lions eat monkeys. Normal creatures are naturally biased toward their own.

  • journey

    The author does state: “Many of these experiments on in-group bias have been conducted around the world, and almost every ethnic group shows a bias favoring its own. One exception: African-Americans.”

  • John Smith

    Obviously, more miscegenation is needed to “fix” the “racism” problem.

  • Augustus3709

    In other news: Scientists scramble to figure out how to reduce racism in gazelles against prowling lions.

    People recognize potential threats quickly. Good, otherwise we’d be toast.

    I’d like to know who those “heroic” Afro-Americans were.

  • Uncle Wardle

    It’s simply wisdom for survival. We see a substance and must judge whether or not it is safe. We see a type of food and judge again whether or not it will be OK to eat or if we really want it that bad. Flowers, plants, bugs, snakes, dogs… and people. There is a reason for differences, and a reason we must learn and use those differences to judge.

    Ignoring these facts can be fatal.

  • pennawhytmn

    “We can resist the legacy that evolution has bequeathed us.”

    And why on earth would I want to attempt to defy science and nature rather than use what it has instilled in me? I mean nobody would ever suggest removing my innate fear of jumping into a fire or diving off a skyscraper with no parachute.

  • Gee… an unbiased child prefers it’s own race. How quaint and telling. A Southern Senator or Rep once stated blacks are the only group of adults whose actions indicate they prefer residing with another race. If we examined the motivations that moved Southerners to adopt segregation, after spending a couple hundred years in a multicultural society, and presumed those people enjoyed making money using human assets, there must have been a strong reason they purposely segregated the races – IF – every one is equal in every way. Concordantly, the motivations that move blacks to seek out white communities when they are able to so do, posits a couple questions… property costs in black neighborhoods typically are cheaper. Making a development in those locations is a current trend for that reason. I also do not believe blacks inherently prefer white communities, so there must be a profound reason for their preferring Whiteville.

  • Andrew Flanders

    What a load of bullshit.

  • pennawhytmn

    “Mammy, Jonathan and Sarah beez mo purtier den Demarcus an Shaniqua beez. An Ize ain’t bein fraid ub dems pixters an sheeit. Nomesayin Mammy”. “Latasha an Shawnatela beez ratchet like you beez Mammy. Dem white swimming beez so fine.”.

  • Light from the East

    The New York Slimes once again showed us African Americans are the most general, tolerant, lenient people of the USA. WHY? Just take a look at Baltimore.

  • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

    “We can resist the legacy that evolution has bequeathed us.”

    As with all issues, it’s not a good idea to try to fool mother nature. In the long run, Mother Nature always does and always will win, even if it means the destruction of higher life forms.

  • Celsius1939a

    A very silly article with ridiculous conclusions.

  • Tony Murphy

    “almost every ethnic group shows a bias favoring its own. One exception: African-Americans.”

    Well, well, well. Maybe African Americans aren’t as dumb as I thought!

  • Tony Murphy

    The Batwa pygmies have also been eaten by the nearby population.