May 17th, 2010
01:17 PM ET

UPDATED: AC360 Series: Doll study research

This week, AC360° will air a four-part series on the results of a CNN pilot study examining how children view skin color. In tonight's first installment, find out how this pilot study was conducted and why parents find it hard to talk to their kids about race.

Read on to find the full doll study results and the original 1947 doll test results. Also check out more web videos of kids taking part in the study.

Check back here throughout the week for updated videos and information on this landmark pilot study.

More links:

Read the full doll study results

Read the original 1947 doll test results

Filed under: 360° Radar • Race in America
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Bal Subedi

    Some black kids like white color and others like black.....it's doesn't mean that if a kid like white doll; he/she want to change their race to white from black. As we can see in the video that some black kids were choosing black dolls; We cannot conclude by saying blacks also tend to be white.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  2. Dr. Al

    The formation of a sense of social, ethnic, and cultural identity starts coalescing between 7 – 11 years old. This is when we take everything from our environment (home, school, friends, neighborhood, television, et cetera) and begin to establish a story about ourselves and others like us...and others different from us. In a recent study 354 Afro- and Indo-Caribbean students, ages 7 – 11, were invited to match 5 actors with 5 corresponding parts in a movie. Two of the actors were Black, one was White, one Indian, and one Asian. The roles were medical doctor, drug pusher, police investigator, janitor, and security guard. Black students were twice as likely (122/254 – 48% vs 53/254 21%)to choose a Black for the role of the drug pusher than the doctor. 79% (201/254) of Black students chose anyone other than themselves for the role of the medical doctor. The formation of self-identity is established very young. These negative images must be counterbalanced very early.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  3. E. Anthony

    I was more disappointed than shocked. It confirmed what I already thought, which is that many Whites here in America are 'teaching' their children to dislike/hate Black and Brown people.

    The most telling question was "which 'color' do most 'parents' dislike? The White children almost always immediately pointed to the Black or Brown figure.

    Also When President Obama was set give his speech to the 'classroom', many White schools refused to show the Presidents speech, which is unheard of.

    The entire 'world' has witnessed the difference between how White America has treated President Bush vs. President Obama. This is 'disgusting' bigotry plain and simple.

    August 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  4. cheryl stl mo.

    This is why we must teach our children while they are young that skin color dont make the person. Ask them do they like their President? Is he white, brown, or black? Is he smart or dumb? Would you like to have a rich black friend or white friend, or do it matter?

    May 17, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  5. Cathy

    I was shocked by the study findings, but I have to agree with teresa, kent, I too was discouraged by the last doll because I could not see its smiling face. Could this have played a role in their choice?

    May 17, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  6. just_jotter

    Have to admit that I was flabbergasted when I first saw these results. Heartbreaking. Makes me even more thankful that I was raised by parents who taught me that there are only two kinds of people in the world: good people and bad people. Other than this. the rest matters not.

    How sad for any child to be raised with bias toward others. What sort of life does one have when all of your friends are just like you? Having friends of all races, religions and cultures is the best gift we can give our kids, otherwise they are missing out on so much.

    We must however, teach by example. The saying "actions speak louder than words" was never more appropriate than it is here. Don't just talk to your kids; let them see that your circle of friends encompasses all people. Kids with wide experiences become well-rounded adults.

    Fascinating and important topic. Thank you for addressing it.

    May 17, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  7. cheryl

    I believe young children go by what they hear, see and taught. They dont seem to have a problem playing together at the playgrounds. Why did they have to ask who is the dumb child? Why was there not a positive question, like what color is the President? Do you think he is dumb? It seem like the adults asking the questions was the ones with a problem. We need to teach our children how to live and love one another no matter what the color as we never know when we will need that person to save our lives.

    May 17, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  8. teresa, kent, oh

    interesting study.

    In the pictures where the doll on the right is beyond dark.... we cant see any facial features... i wonder if when the lighter skinned ones are picked, if it has anything to do with not clearly seeing facial features on the dark dolls?

    smart kids : )

    May 17, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  9. ACW

    It is intereting but after rereading study, I wonder how teens and adults would act. Color association happens all the time with inanimate objects. It is taught in art that color evoke feelings, such as this color is hot, cool, or gives me dark feelings. Try this test with live choices and I bet there would be a large amount of hesitation on the part of the child.

    May 17, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  10. Cotdamn

    I love the way these kids are so pure, wich makes these video's even harder to watch. Realy punches me in the face.

    Wake up people!

    May 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  11. Jon

    It is sad to see how race, and skin color change the persona of human beings.

    May 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  12. Kevin Caputo

    I strongly believe this has to do with what the kids have seen in there short years of life. Chance i believe this to be the main factor. If someone that young only has a couple years of experience behind them in a public school what they remember as the 'bad' child will be the one in there classes who was constantly in trouble or known as the trouble maker. So if the child who happened to be bad was black was a trouble maker in these kids classes, then the children in this study will pick the black picture as the one to be negative. This has nothing to do with the color of there skin it has to do with the experiences these been through with that particular colored person.

    May 17, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This is a very important study especially when it comes to our childrens development today and in the future. Parents need to clearly understand what impacts their childs ability to achieve or fail and their understanding of skin color does play a key role. Listen up parents.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  14. Mike in NYC

    Differences between groups go far beyond mere skin color, so these studies are flawed from the start.

    May 17, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  15. Mary Anne

    It's so painful to see how these horrible cycles of how we view each other as human beings repeats itself in the younger generation. I'm convinced we're not the most intelligent species on top of the food chain if these "false ideals" are so ingrained into our psyche dictating choices we make, and opinions we form everyday. If we're not polluting and destroying the Earth and other species of life around us, then we're polluting the minds of the most vulnerable parts of our population, the children, by these negative messages are society feeds us.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  16. JAM

    Besides the fact that these children looked coached and that the questions were leading, 133 children is statistically insignificant. It is also rather suspicious that the supporting studies were connected in some way to Dr. Spencer's organization.

    The way the value scale was presented was also "leading". Why not scramble them or put one color in front of the children and then ask what they think of that child and why. Also, you have to wonder what effect the race of the questioner had on the results.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:32 pm |

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