Can a person’s race change over time? No — but preschoolers seem to think so.

According to a University of Michigan study, white preschoolers often believe a person’s race can change over time, and the youngsters even think they can can grow up to become black adults.

Steven Roberts, a U-M doctoral student and the study’s lead author, said that although children may be aware of races other than their own, they don’t have a strong understanding of what race is — at least not to the degree of adults.

Roberts and colleague Susan Gelman, U-M professor of psychology and linguistics, examined the extent that children believed race was stable; that is, whether a black child would grow up to be a black adult.

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