Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



infant, perceptual narrowing, other-race effect, emotion


The theory of perceptual narrowing posits that the ability to make perceptual discriminations is very broad early in development and subsequently becomes more specific with perceptual experience (Scott, Pascalis, & Nelson, 2007). This leads to the formation of biases (Pascalis et al., 2002; 2005; Kelly et al., 2007), including the other-race effect (ORE). Behavioral and electrophysiological measures are used to show that by 9-months-of-age, infants exhibit a decline in ability to distinguish between two faces from another race compared to two faces from within their own race. Significant differences in the P400 component revealed a dampening of response to other-race compared to same-race faces for 9-month-olds only. More negative N290 amplitudes in response to happy compared to sad faces were found for 5-month-olds only. Nine-month-olds did not show different responses based on emotion, indicating that race was interfering with the processing of emotion.


First Advisor

Lisa S Scott

Second Advisor

Andrew L. Cohen