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Rare Disease Causes Elfin Facial Features, Erases Racial Bias

 |  |  |  |  |  April 18, 2010

A rare genetic disease called Williams Syndrome causes “mild to moderate mental retardation, elfin facial features and gregarious social behavior;” a recent study published in the journal Current Biology theorizes that children with Williams Syndrome also have no racial bias. Maybe we should call it Legolas Syndrome.


Seriously though, it turns out that parts of our brain – specifically the amygdala and the fusiforn face area (FFA) – are responsible for “encoding race information” and as a side effect, make us biased towards our own race. It seems that Williams Syndrome causes “reduced activity and… impaired interactions” between these two parts. It’s sad that we’re kind of inclined to be racists by nature, but I’m pretty sure we can easily outgrow it. Maybe in the future scientists can pluck that racist gene from our DNA. (Or at least let us choose to be elves – Ed.)

[via Science Blogs via Neatorama]