April 13, 2010

Children with Williams syndrome lack racial stereotyping

Info on What is Williams syndrome.

Current Biology, Volume 20, Issue 7, R307-R308, 13 April 2010, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2010.02.009

Absence of racial, but not gender, stereotyping in Williams syndrome children

Andreia Santos et al.


Stereotypes — often implicit attributions to an individual based on group membership categories such as race, religion, age, gender, or nationality — are ubiquitous in human interactions. Even three-year old children clearly prefer their own ethnic group and discriminate against individuals of different ethnicities [1]. While stereotypes may enable rapid behavioural decisions with incomplete information, such biases can lead to conflicts and discrimination, especially because stereotypes can be implicit and automatic [2], making an understanding of the origin of stereotypes an important scientific and socio-political topic. An important process invoked by out-groups is social fear [3]. A unique opportunity to study the contribution of this mechanism to stereotypes is afforded by individuals with the microdeletion disorder Williams syndrome (WS), in which social fear is absent, leading to an unusually friendly, high approachability behaviour, including towards strangers [4]. Here we show that children with WS lack racial stereotyping, though they retain gender stereotyping, compared to matched typically developing children. Our data indicate that mechanisms for the emergence of gender versus racial bias are neurogenetically dissociable. Specifically, because WS is associated with reduced social fear, our data support a role of social fear processing in the emergence of racial, but not gender, stereotyping.



onur said...

This study's results will never have any effect on racism. As the name implies, it is a disorder. And like all disorders, it is a minority trait and irrelevant for the majority.

Average Joe said...

Does this mean that not being racist is a symptom of mental retardation?

controversialdude said...


onur said...

Does this mean that not being racist is a symptom of mental retardation?

As I said, it cannot have any effect on racism, both positively and negatively. And I am saying this from a totally neutral point of view.

onur said...

Steve Sailer has as interesting article on this study:


Jack said...

This is why Dienekes posts those facial recognition test: to see who has WS.
Half of his readers have it.