Development of the other-race effect in Malaysian-Chinese infants

DIANA SU YUN THAM, Pei Jun Woo, J.G. Bremner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about how infants born and raised in a multiracial environment process own‐ and other‐race faces. We investigated face recognition of 3‐ to 4‐month‐old (N = 36) and 8‐ to 9‐month‐old (N = 38) Chinese infants from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a population that is considered multiracial, using female and male faces that are of infants’ own‐race (Chinese), experienced other‐race (Malay) and less experi‐enced other‐race (Caucasian‐White). Three‐ to 4‐month‐olds recognized own‐race female faces, whereas 8‐ to 9‐month‐olds also recognized experienced other‐race female faces (Malay) in addition to own‐race female faces (Chinese). Furthermore, infants from this population did not show recognition for male faces at any age. This contrasts with 8‐ to 9‐month‐old British‐White infants (Tham, Bremner, & Hay, 2015), a group that is considered single‐race, who recognized female and male own‐race faces. It appears that for infants born and raised in a multiracial environment, there is a developmental shift from a female‐based own‐race recognition advantage to a female‐based own‐ and experienced other‐race advantage that may relate to infants’ social and caregiving experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-115
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Issue number1
Early online date21 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • face perception
  • infants
  • multiracial population
  • the other-race effect


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