White children believe black children feel less pain than white children, a University of Virginia study has found.
The researchers said five-year-olds in the study did not show any racial bias when it comes to pain, but some seven-year-olds did, and it was more prominent in the 10-year-olds.
The children were asked to rate the severity of pain in different situations, such as bumping their head or slamming their hand in a door. When shown pictures of black children, the seven- and 10-year-olds tended to rate the pain as being less severe than when they were shown pictures of white children.
The study said this age range is when intervention needs to happen to prevent "a potentially very harmful bias" from progressing into adulthood.
Researcher Rebecca Dore said the study did not explore why children feel this way; however, other research suggests parental bias likely plays a role.
The study was published Friday in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology.