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People are more likely to misread a black child as angry when they believe the child is older

Research has found significant racial biases when judging the emotions of others. Black people are more likely to be misjudged as angry, for example, and recent research has suggested that even children are victims of this “anger bias”. Black children are also frequently subject to “adultification” — being perceived as older and more mature than White peers.

A new study explores the links between these two phenomena, finding that the older adults believe Black children to be, the more likely they are to (incorrectly) judge them to be angry too. Writing in Cognition and Emotion, Alison N. Cooke and Amy G. Halberstadt from North Carolina State University argue that such judgements could have serious consequences for Black children.

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