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A Distance Measure of Racial Attitudes in Primary Grade Children: An Exploratory Study NICHD

Koslin, Sandra Cohen; Amarel, Marianne; Ames, Nancy P.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), African Americans, Elementary School Students, Interpersonal Relationship, Psychological Studies


This study explored the use of a nonverbal distance measure to assess interpersonal racial attitudes among primary grade children in segregated and nonsegregated schools. Subjects pasted decals representing themselves on a series of pages, each of which contained a fixed figure. Figures included Black and White teachers and peers, and a school. Subjects pasted the decals in whatever position and at whatever distance they chose from the target figure. White subjects placed the figures of themselves further from Black than from White target figures, whereas Black subjects placed them equally close to White and Black target figures. Compared with segregated subjects, integrated subjects placed the figure representing themselves closer to target figures of the opposite race and closer to school.

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