“Careful the things you say: Children will listen,” Stephen Sondheim warned audiences in his fairy-tale musical Into the Woods. New research suggests kids are indeed watching and listening to the adults around them—and picking up their prejudices.

A just-published study found “a strong and consistent pro-white bias” among a racially diverse group of four-year-olds in suburban Chicago.

The results “showcase young children’s exquisite sensitivity to the interactions they observe in the world around them,” writes lead author Danielle Perszyk, a psychologist at Northwestern University.

Perszyk and her colleagues argue that children, being “astute observers of the social world,” gradually become “attuned to social category labels, social status, and the biases exhibited by family members,” whether these biases are openly discussed or merely implied….

Pacific Standard Magazine