Does this Smile Make me Look White? Exploring the Effects of Emotional Expressions on the Categorization of Multiracial Children

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
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  • 1 Department of PsychologyUniversity of Michigan
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Previous research shows that Multiracial adults are categorized as more Black than White (i.e., Black-categorization bias), especially when they have angry facial expressions. The present research examined the extent to which these categorization patterns extended to Multiracial children, with both White and Black participants. Consistent with past research, both White and Black participants categorized Multiracial children as more Black than White. Counter to what was found with Multiracial adults in previous research, emotional expressions (e.g., happy vs. angry) did not moderate how Multiracial children were categorized. Additionally, for Black participants, anti-White bias was correlated with categorizing Multiracial children as more White than Black. The developmental and cultural implications of these data are discussed, as they provide new insight into the important role that age plays in Multiracial person perception.

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