Race and Color: Two Sides of One Story? Development of Biases in Categorical Perception

Susanna Timeo, Teresa Farroni, Anne Maass

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Categorical perception is a phenomenon that leads people to group stimuli into categories instead of perceiving their natural continua. This article reviews the literature of two biases connected with categorical perception: categorical color perception and the other-race effect. Although these two phenomena concern distant targets (colors and faces) and imply different biases (one attentional, one mnemonic), they share at least three commonalities. First, they both involve the chunking of continuous dimensions into categories. Second, adult categories are shaped by cultural processes. Third, infants' discrimination performance seems universal and guided by perception. In this article, it is proposed to look for a common developmental mechanism that clarifies the shift from a perceptual to a sociocognitive knowledge of the environment. New perspectives are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-102
Number of pages20
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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