A Cognitive‐Developmental Approach to Racial Stereotyping and Reconstructive Memory in Euro‐American Children

Rebecca S. Bigler, Lynn S. Liben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

195 Scopus citations

Abstract

To examine the role of cognitive skill and racial stereotyping in Euro‐American children's processing of race‐related information, 75 Euro‐American children, aged 4–9 years, were asked to recall stories that were either consistent with or inconsistent with cultural racial stereotypes. In 6 trait stories, a Euro‐American main character encounters both a Euro‐American and an African American child. A negative trait is attributed to either the African American (stereotypic story) or the Euro‐American child (counterstereotypic story). In 6 social relationship stories, main characters interact with neighbors, friends, or married couples, portrayed either intraracially (stereotypic) or interracially (counterstereotypic). Individual difference measures were used to assess subjects' racial stereotyping and their classification skill (ability to sort stimuli along multiple dimensions). As predicted, lower degrees of racial stereotyping and the ability to classify persons along multiple dimensions were associated with better memory for counterstereotypic stories. Implications for intervention programs aimed at reducing racial stereotyping are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1507-1518
Number of pages12
JournalChild development
Volume64
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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