Study Shows Babies Naturally Distinguish Races and Easily Link Them to Languages

Little Timmy can already identify foreigners.

There is an interesting new study from the University of British Columbia on infant babies’ ability to distinguish, and link, different races and languages. According to UBC (my emphasis):

Eleven-month-old infants can learn to associate the language they hear with ethnicity, recent research from the University of British Columbia suggests.

The study, conducted in Vancouver and published in April in Developmental Psychobiology, found that 11-month-old infants looked more at the faces of people of Asian descent versus those of Caucasian descent when hearing Cantonese versus English—but not when hearing Spanish. . . .

We wanted to determine whether the association between Cantonese language and Asian faces we observed was due to a specific pairing infants learn from their environment, or whether infants may just have a bias to pair together any unfamiliar language with any unfamiliar ethnicity. We conducted a second study where we played English-learning, Caucasian infants sentences of English and Spanish and showed them the same pictures of Caucasian and Asian faces. Here, we found that infants looked similarly to faces of both ethnicities with both languages. Taken together, this would suggest that infants are indeed picking up on specific language-ethnicity pairings, likely based upon those faces and languages they encounter. . . .

The link between speaker characteristics and language is something no one has to teach babies. They learn it all on their own.

One of the study’s authors rightly remarks: “Babies are really discerning.” She goes on to add the results “should comfort parents in letting them know that babies who grow up in a multicultural, multilingual society such as Vancouver learn about that diversity and use it to help—rather than hinder—their language acquisition.”

Certainly, there is no doubt a diverse multilingual environment is good for children’s language acquisition. However, I was more struck by another one of the study’s possible implications: that human beings are hard-wired, virtually from birth, to distinguish between races (visible physical differences reflecting different genetic populations) and languages.

Now why would that be the case? I suggest that this is further evidence that race and language are central to the process of ethnic identity formation. As a child grows up, it learns to identify who is and who is not part of their in-group based partly, indeed, on upbringing and culture, but especially visible racial similarity and common language. That would explain why multiracial and multilingual societies virtually never consolidate as harmonious, unitary nations (witness Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Malaysia, Austria-Hungary . . .), as well as the psychological appeal of nationalism in modern times, that widespread drive since the nineteenth century to develop linguistically-homogeneous nation-states.

Partly, ethnic (and national) identity formation is determined by socialization. Obviously race and especially language play a huge role determining with whom people socialize or what media they consume. (With the printing press and modern telecommunications, we can say that a good deal of socialization is mediated, accounting for Benedict Anderson’s emphasis on newspaper circulation in the emergence of national identity, without dismissing, as Marxists tend to, the deep-rooted psychological mechanisms and cultural/genetic differences underlying national identities.)

I have no doubt that culture or clannishness can further subdivide a particular racial-linguistic group into ethnic sub-groups. (Witness the divide between Serbs and Croats or the innumerable tribes and ethno-religious groups of the Middle East.) However, as a rule, a common ethno-national identity does not appear possible wherever there are differences of language or race—despite the patriotic sentiments coming out of strongly identified non-Whites such as Ilhan Omar.

An in-born drive to develop an ethnic identity – based one’s own race (physical appearance) and language, contrasting with others – and preference for that ethnic group is obviously adaptive. People sharing one’s race and language are, generally, far, far more likely to be closely related to us genetically than racial and linguistic others (especially in a tribal context, where each tribe would be likely to have its own accent or dialect). As human beings are born into the world, those endowed with such an instinct would naturally team up with people with similar appearance and language, and would naturally do better than the lonely souls lacking such an instinct. This would account for the universality of ethnocentrism among humans.

We can add this research to the long list of studies showing infants’ acute sensitivity to racial and linguistic differences. The media is regularly seized by “racist baby” moral panics concerning babies’ ability to distinguish between races and their well-documented preference for their own race (see Newsweek in 2009, Time in 2014, the New York Post in 2017).

It don't come easy: bonding across racial lines requires overcoming some very old genetic programming

TIME caption: It don’t come easy: bonding across racial lines requires overcoming some very old genetic programming

Concerning language, one study showed that even newborns cry with their parents’ accent, presumably learned while listening in the womb, showing an ability to not only identify but even mimic an accent. Other studies have found that infants prefer to look to look at speakers of their native language rather than speakers of foreign languages and that young children prefer to be friends with their own native accent over foreign-accented ones.

All this suggests that multilingual and multiracial societies cannot establish a common ethnic or deep national identity for their members. The “love hormone” oxytocin has been linked to feelings of solidarity, empathy, emotional bonding, and racial in-group preference. This suggests that our ‘diverse’ societies will be ones where infants never grow up with the strong feeling of belonging which a common ethnicity provides. These societies are loveless, emotionally dissatisfying, and alienating, but manage to get along mechanically through global capitalism and the welfare state’s ability to guarantee most individuals with a comfortable consumerist lifestyle.

18 replies
  1. Pat Etheridge
    Pat Etheridge says:

    It is a myth that toddlers and children are colorblind and do not see race, ethnicity, etc. They frequently have to be taught to regard “outsiders” as being fellow group members, despite the mythology introduced long before Rodgers and Hammerstein, that “children have to be carefully taught to hate.” Such an assertion is pure baloney. In fact, it is my experience that children very naturally identify with their own racial, ethnic, religious, and linguistic group first, and can be quite brutal in dealing with individuals who do not belong to those groups.

    Libtard fantasies aside…….

  2. Robert Henderson
    Robert Henderson says:

    It would be astonishing if there was not a biological mechanism for those of the same race to show preference for those with same racial traits.

    That racial type should be a requirement for inclusion within a “tribe” is unsurprising. All social animals have to have boundaries to know where the group begins and ends. This is because a social animal must operate within a hierarchy and a hierarchy can only exist where there are boundaries. No boundaries, no hierarchy, because no individual could ever know what the dominance/submission situation was within their species or at least within those members of the species with whom they interact.

    Where does “must operate within a hierarchy” come from? First the observed facts: all social animals do produce hierarchies – although these vary considerably in form – and human beings always produce hierarchies, whether they are hunter-gatherers or people populating a great modern city.

    Why do social animals always form hierarchies? For animals other than Man the answer is I think simple enough: only by forming hierarchies can social groups cohere. This is most probably because animals vary considerably in their physical and mental qualities. Observe any animal, even the simplest single cell organism, and differences between individuals within the species will become apparent. Some are more vigorous than others, some larger, some, more adventurous and so on. Individuals will also vary by age and, in sexually reproducing species, sex.

    In a solitary animal the practical consequences of differences between individuals will be decided by direct competition, most commonly by the formation of territories and the attempted monopoly of mates and food within the territory, with the best endowed animals on average being more successful.

    When an animal is social, differences in individual quality have to be resolved by something other than the methods used by solitary animals such as scent marking of territory boundaries and serious fighting because the animals have to live in close proximity. Competition for desirable goods still occurs, most notably competition for mates, but normally within behaviours which are not fatal to other members of the group or behaviours which are so disruptive as to threaten the survival of the group. The upshot of this social accommodation is the formation of different social niches into which individuals fit.

    Group behaviour is a compromise between the immediate advantage of the individual and the diffuse advantages derived from group activity. The compromise is given structure by hierarchies, whether that be a fixed biological distinction by sex or caste (for example, social bees) or a transient one due to the age of an animal. Hierarchies are built on the differences between individuals and the more rigid the hierarchical structure the greater will be the selective pressures to produce individuals in the right proportions to fill the various social niches within the group.

    • JM
      JM says:

      @Robert Henderson
      “It would be astonishing if there was not a biological mechanism for those of the same race to show preference for those with same racial traits. ”

      Why would that adaptation be necessary, given that living side by side of genetically different human groups is a very recent phenomenon?

      • Robert Henderson
        Robert Henderson says:

        The answer lies in Man’s inbuilt tribal nature. The trait that drives hostility and conflict amongst tribes of hunter gatherers is the same trait which is found in advanced nations which go to war. It does not require racial difference per se to drive it but nonetheless humans are pretty consistent in
        finding physical differences as a means of both isolating opponents and justifying the isolating.This is perfectly natural. Humans being the supreme social animal need like all other social animals to set limits to the group.

        Degrees of empathy exist. depending on circumstance. The philosopher David Hume made the point that if we were in China and came across a Swede we would feel a good deal of empathy. if a Spaniard in the same situation less so. If we met either Swede or Spaniard in England we should have less empathy for either compared with what we felt for them in China.

        None none of this is to suggest that brute physical difference cannot be a determiner of who is in the group. If we see some who looks in general terms like us, to be a member of the group, we are reassured. If we see someone of a different race we are cautious because we do not have an instinctive feeling that they are part of the group. Much is made by the politically correct of the number of mixed marriages, ie, marriages or partnerships between people of difference races. In fact the surprising thing is there is few of them and many of those which do exists arch marriages or partnerships between two people of mixed race.

        In Freakonomics Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner cite a study made of a US dating site (the full story is on pp 80-84). The site is one of the largest in the US and the data examined covered 30,000 people equally divided between San Diego and Boston. Most were white but there was a substantial minority of non-white subjects.

        The questionnaire the would-be daters had to fill in included a question choice on race as “same as mine” and “doesn’t matter”. The study compared the responses by white would-be daters (those from non-white were not analysed) to these questions with the race of the emails actually sent soliciting a date. The result in Levitt and Dubner’s words was:

        “Roughly half of the white women on the site and 80 percent of the white men declared that race didn’t matter to them. But the response data tell a different story The white men who said that race didn’t matter sent 90 percent of their e-mail queries to white women. The white women who said race didn’t matter sent about 97 percent of their e-mail queries to white men.

        “Is it possible that race really didn’t matter for these white women and men and that they simply never happened to browse a non-white date that interested them?”

        Or, more likely, did they say that race didn’t matter because they wanted to come across especially to potential mates of their own race as open-minded?” In short, around 99% of all the women and 94% of all men in the sample were not willing to seek a date of a different race. How much stronger will be the tendency to refuse to breed with a mate of a different race?

        Another way of testing the desire to remain racially separate is to look at social class and inter-racial breeding. The higher up the social scale a person is the less likely they are to have a partner of a different race – if you doubt this try to find examples of the rich and powerful who have a partner of a different race. Those who have the most choice overwhelmingly choose members of their own racial type, despite the fact that they have the protection of their wealth and position to shield their spouses and children from the effects of racial discrimination.

        The experience of imperial Rome nicely demonstrates racial exclusiveness as a historical phenomenon. Despite the racially mixed population, all the evidence we have suggests that Romans of higher social status (the only Romans we have any substantial knowledge of as individuals) rarely took non-white mates (the same applies today: in white-majority countries the higher the status of whites, the less likely they are to have a non-white partner.) Even the Bible has the story of Moses choosing a black wife and meeting with resistance on the part of his people. (Numbers chapter 12)

        If sexual desire will not commonly override the natural disinclination to remain racially separate nothing will.

        The fact that humans have external racial differences which are sufficiently distinct to allow people throughout the world to broadly categorise an individual into categories such as white and black is in itself indicative of the innate human tendency to breed with those who are racially similar, even though for several thousands of years large human populations of different racial types have existed in close proximity. If human beings did not have an innate preference for those who racially resemble themselves, humanity would have bred itself into something approaching a uniform racial type, at least in those parts of the world which were not very isolated – different races have had regular and numerous contact with each other for at least three thousand years. The alternative explanation to an innate tendency is the truly fantastic one that Man everywhere spontaneously developed cultural barriers to breeding which had nothing to do with any innate tendency. If anything is a social construct it is not race but the liberal idea that Man is a single species.

          • Robert Henderson
            Robert Henderson says:

            I have managed to track down the Hume quote.It is right at the bottom of the quoted data which is necessary to see the contexct.


            In general, it may be affirmed, that there is no such passion in human minds, as the love of mankind, merely as such, independent of personal qualities, of services, or of relation to ourself. It is true, there is no human, and indeed no sensible, creature, whose happiness or misery does not, in some measure, affect us when brought near to us, and represented in lively colours: But this proceeds merely from sympathy, and is no proof of such an universal affection to mankind, since this concern extends itself beyond our own species. An affection betwixt the sexes is a passion evidently implanted in human nature; and this passion not only appears in its peculiar symptoms, but also in inflaming every other principle of affection, and raising a stronger love from beauty, wit, kindness, than what would otherwise flow from them. Were there an universal love among all human creatures, it would appear after the same manner. Any degree of a good quality would cause a stronger affection than the same degree of a bad quality would cause hatred; contrary to what we find by experience. Men’s tempers are different, and some have a propensity to the tender, and others to the rougher, affections: But in the main, we may affirm, that man in general, or human nature, is nothing but the object both of love and hatred, and requires some other cause, which by a double relation of impressions and ideas, may excite these passions. In vain would we endeavour to elude this hypothesis. There are no phenomena that point out any such kind affection to men, independent of their merit, and every other circumstance. We love company in general; but it is as we love any other amusement. An Englishman in Italy is a friend: A European in China; and perhaps a man would be beloved as such, were we to meet him in the moon. But this proceeds only from the relation to ourselves; which in these cases gathers force by being confined to a few persons.

  3. Felton Newisher
    Felton Newisher says:

    Perfectly reasonable and natural. Unfortunately, in the Year of our Overlord 18, such assertions are clearly criminal, and should expect to be soon flushed down the memory hole. Have a nice day!

  4. RoyAlbecht
    RoyAlbecht says:

    This post will not get me any “Brownie” points (slang for “Girl Scouts” in Canada) amongst the W.N.-ist crowd at TOO, but then what do I care about what people think, since I am almost totally alienated from society at large anyways.

    Anyway, before my misogynated (Korean-German hybrid growing up in Canada) anchor-baby son was stolen from me by the consortium of Leftist Retards, Blasphemous Jews and mentally abused relatives at the age of 22 months…,
    on the weekly, supervised, court restricted, time restricted and location prescribed visits, I managed to teach him to swim, dive and pull himself out of the deep end of the pool, speak and count in German, and was busy teaching him rudimentary mathematics.
    But the one thing that was really quite fascinating for me was that at age 18 months, I could point to a pictures of simple things,like a horse, and ask him to say what this was using the German, Korean and English languages…, and he got it right time after time.

    • RoyAlbrecht
      RoyAlbrecht says:

      “…All this suggests that multilingual and multiracial societies cannot establish a common ethnic or deep national identity for their members.”

      Notwithstanding the convoluted circumstances entailing the occurrence of an inter-Racial child,
      I believe that a lot of the alienation and rootlessness that people who live in societies described above,
      both ethnically “pure” or “mixed”,
      can to a large extent overcome these handicapped feelings of having no belonging,
      if in fact they are made cognizant of the maleficent jewish hand in the multiculti catastrophe.
      There are many examples where shared feelings of solidarity can be achieved across Racial and ethno-nationalistic barriers by having common knowledge of the blasphemous Jew.

      (I.e. Nation of Islam + White Nationalists + Hindu Nationalists, Reverend Manning and his Baptist Ministries…,
      Islamic Republic of Iran + White Nationalists of all Euro Nations + Orthodox jews and even some Africans and East Asians = Holocaust Conference,
      National Socialists: Japanese, Germans, Indians (Sub_continental variant), in short wherever they may exist…)

      The common thread between all these otherwise divergent ethnicities is their common knowledge of the inner workings of the Race of [redacted] Jew.

  5. r1b1
    r1b1 says:

    not for publication.

    ” Other studies have found that infants prefer to look to look at speakers of their native language of speakers of foreign languages and young children prefer to be friends with native-accented speakers over foreign-accented ones.”

    Re-proof that please.

  6. Pat Etheridge
    Pat Etheridge says:

    I know I personally sometimes shudder when interacting with a Pakistani or a shrouded Moslem, who speaks English more articulately than my own family members. If such invaders do it with a slight English accent (perhaps indicating the place where they learned our language), it sometimes makes the hair stand up on my neck. It is akin to an experience I had wherein a group of Asian students were carefully conducting an archaeological dig, all the while commenting on what the artifacts and the ruins revealed about the site’s ancient Anglo inhabitants. It was that strange feeling you get when observing an adversary treading on one’s future grave.

  7. Tom
    Tom says:

    Well, the Left will never be able to eliminate distinction. So, what our North American/European leftists are trying to do is to convince people that it is a sin to notice racial distinction and then speak about it. Like the gender crap they’re trying to pull.

    My experience with leftists personally however is that they are full of shit when it comes to doing what they otherwise prescribe. For example, with few exceptions, the Aryan leftist females I’ve encountered have all been attracted to and attached to Aryan men. Not only have these females noticed distinction quite clearly but they would often enthusiastically laud the Aryan racial features (sandy hair, bluish eyes, etc) of their beloved men.

  8. Lil’ Tim
    Lil’ Tim says:

    Interesting video on YouTube, a woman rescues a beaver, the beaver finds points of movement restriction like the space between a wall and a chair, raids the hamper and builds a dam in the restricted spot with dirty clothes.

  9. dolph9
    dolph9 says:

    Sex and reproduction of the future generation is the ultimate test of race and everybody knows it. It’s why everyone is either hush hush about it, or openly promoting miscegenation, as the Jews attempt to do, encouraging the black male/white female pairing, which in reality is one of the least likely to occur naturally.

    All theories and philosophizing aside, if you produce babies of race, you are of race, and if you don’t produce babies of race, you are not of race. Simple as that, no further complication needed.

    Which means if you either remain childless or produce mixed race babies, you are not of race. You might belong to a race by birth, sure, but you are not “of race” in the sense of continuing your race.

    • Karlfried
      Karlfried says:

      ”Which means if you either remain childless or produce mixed race babies, you are not of race.”
      My comment: This sentence is true, but in rare occasions there are additional things to think about.
      After the Second World War, millions of young German men were dead and therefore millions of young German women could never find a partner for life and familiy. They very often lived in the families of their relatives as an “aunt”. And/or they worked in order to rebuild Germany (Wiederaufbau). These women were looked at in love and compassion by the other Germans. And they did do their share, in as much as it was possible for them, to preserve the German folk.
      For you Americans that is a side-note to history, for us Germans it is part of our identity and collective memory. The fate of our ancestors gives as inner strength do do the necessary fights of today in order to preserve our German folks, the European folks, the European-descended folks, and the white race.

  10. Melissa Bishop
    Melissa Bishop says:

    It would be interesting to study babies that were adopted as newborns by other races. Test them before the age of self recognition (the mirror test). Would they show preference for the adoptive race or is it genetic?

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