Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Vernon Schaefer

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Pictures of three identical faces differing only in skin colour were shown to 88 Negro and Caucasian subjects in grades kindergarten, one and three and questions about the pictures were asked. The procedure was designed to measure racial preference, awareness and self-identification and social awareness on the part of the subjects. Male subjects saw pictures of male faces and female subjects saw female faces. An experimental group of approximately one-half of the subjects saw a fourth picture face, which represented a novel stimulus and which was included to probe the reaction of the subjects to novelty.

In addition, a warm-up task of size-brightness discrimination was administered to all subjects, in an effort to compare those children who exhibited a strong preference for size or brightness or those who showed the ability to see both dimensions equally well, on the subsequent racial and social attitude measures.

Results showed few differences either between subjects of each race or among subjects within each race. Supporting an historical trend in the literature, both races in the present study were ethnocentric in their preferences—i.e. blacks and whites alike preferred their own race picture. There were no significant differences between size-brightness preferrers and non-preferrers on the racial and social awareness measures.

All subjects were quite aware of racial labels and were able to properly apply them to appropriate faces; they were also accurate on the self-identification measure. Results in respect to the social awareness measure revealed no significant differences among the present subjects. These results led the investigator to suggest development of a more detailed and direct means of measuring social awareness.

It was suggested that the study of racial awareness and attitudes is an important area of research and questions for future investigation were presented.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season