Child psychology and unconscious bias with Dr Daniel Emina

Psychologist Dr Daniel Emina talks to Heights about how prejudice is formed.

Unconscious bias takes root from an incredibly early age. Nigerian-born, California-living, Dr Daniel Emina is a double board-certified child, adolescent and adult psychologist who spends his days treating brain-health-related conditions.

How is prejudice formed?

On today's Braincare Podcast, Dr Emina explains when and why the first signs of prejudice are formed in our brains. We discuss how babies as young as 9 months differentiate faces based on race. Plus, how rapidly growing emotional complexity impacts bias.

You can listen to episode 8 here.

We come into this world completely helpless, everything is foreign. A lot of our initial first couple of months of development, is that: how do I process reality?

A superiority complex can start at a young age

Can a primary school child have a superiority complex? Around age 5, children enter what is known as the industry vs. inferiority phase. Dr Emina explains the "in-group" concept that tells us where our skills lie and starts to define a hierarchical society.

It comes as a great shock around the age of 5 to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance along with everybody else has not pledged allegiance to you.

Podcast episode takeaways

In this first episode with Dr Daniel Emina we will cover:

  • The stages of childhood cognitive development

  • Where trust and mistrust come from

  • Manifestations of bias and how to spot them

  • The social hierarchy of the playground

  • Choosing toys and books to break down bias

  • How to have open discussions about race with children

Listen to the full episode here —and subscribe to The Braincare Podcast to get more bitesize interviews with the world's leading scientists and experts.

Want more interesting cognitive insights? Check out our previous episodes with nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert.


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