Do we distinguish well the somatic characteristics of the different ethnic groups?

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Louise Hay
@louisehay
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When I was studying at university I happened to have some Chinese students in the classroom with me, and I must say that I needed some time to be able to differentiate their faces and to my great surprise, when we became friends, they confessed to me that they had the same problem. : it is difficult for us to differentiate the faces of people who come from the same ethnic group but different from ours in order to distinguish them from each other. Because? The answer is controversial; some researchers maintain that there is an innate predisposition in processing the faces of people who come from the same ethnic group, others assure that it is an eminently social learning. To clarify the reasons for this peculiarity Bar Haim and his colleagues studied the speed of facial processing in three-and-a-half-month-old babies. Babies from three ethnic groups: Israelites of Caucasian stock, Ethiopians of African descent, and Israelites of African descent (a mixture of ethnicities). The babies, in the arms of their mothers, were shown eight pairs of faces made up of images of Africans and Caucasians. Thus, the points of fixation of the little ones were evaluated while observing the faces and the duration of the observation, hypothesizing that a prolonged observation meant a preference of the child for a particular face. The results showed that little Caucasians observe Caucasian faces longer while Ethiopian children observe African faces longer. However, the Israelite-African children did not show a preference for one or the other ethnic group. This simple but curious research indicates that at three months of age when babies with similar faces have already developed a perceptual preference, they have assimilated a prototypical facial environment so that in retrospect it will be difficult for them to recognize different faces than they are used to. An interesting experiment without a doubt.



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