Looking for Identification

Kevin Lewis

March 21, 2024

Are they like us or are we like them? Applying the principle of contrast modeling to social identity
Hannah Buala & Alyssa Croft
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Are conservatives as competent as liberals? Are liberals as competent as conservatives? Logically, one might assume agreement with one implies agreement with the other. However, we found that people rely on contrast modeling when making these types of similarity judgements. Specifically, people use their own social identity as a metric for weighing evaluative statements asymmetrically based on how they are framed (i.e., which group comes first). Thus, conservatives agree more strongly with the first framing of the statement, while liberals agree more strongly with the second, despite similar semantic meanings underlying both statements. Four studies (N = 1,405) examined the cognitive processes leading to this similarity judgement. Further, we show that identity centrality moderates reliance on contrast modeling. Our findings suggest that cognitive mechanisms underlying social group comparisons are analogous to the mechanisms used to compare nonsocial categories.

Social class perception is driven by stereotype-related facial features
Thora Bjornsdottir et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, March 2024, Pages 742-753

Social class is a powerful hierarchy that determines many privileges and disadvantages. People form impressions of others’ social class (like other important social attributes) from facial appearance, and these impressions correlate with stereotype judgments. However, what drives these related subjective judgments remains unknown. That is, what makes someone look like they are of higher or lower social class standing (e.g., rich or poor), and how does this relate to harmful or advantageous stereotypes? We addressed these questions using a perception-based data-driven method to model the specific three-dimensional facial features that drive social class judgments and compared them to those of stereotype-related judgments (competence, warmth, dominance, and trustworthiness), based on White Western culture participants and face stimuli. Using a complementary data-reduction analysis and machine learning approach, we show that social class judgments are driven by a unique constellation of facial features that reflect multiple embedded stereotypes: poor-looking (vs. rich-looking) faces are wider, shorter, and flatter with downturned mouths and darker, cooler complexions, mirroring features of incompetent, cold, and untrustworthy-looking (vs. competent, warm, and trustworthy-looking) faces. Our results reveal the specific facial features that underlie the connection between impressions of social class and stereotype-related social traits, with implications for central social perception theories, including understanding the causal links between stereotype knowledge and social class judgments. We anticipate that our results will inform future interventions designed to interrupt biased perception and social inequalities.

Words of a Leader: The Importance of Intersectionality for Understanding Women Leaders’ Use of Dominant Language and How Others Receive It
Cydney Hurston Dupree
Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Management scholars have long examined gender disparities in leaders’ communication and followers’ reactions. There is, however, a paucity of research that takes an intersectional perspective. This article takes that step, using an intersectional lens to examine women leaders’ use of dominant language and how others receive it. Leveraging advances in natural-language processing, I analyzed the stereotype content of more than 250,000 Congressional remarks (Study 1) and almost one million tweets (Study 2) by leaders. Women leaders referenced dominance more than men did (using more words like “powerful”), violating stereotypes that depict women as submissive. However, as theory on racialized gender stereotypes suggests, this effect was unique to White leaders. Two additional studies revealed backlash to women leaders’ use of dominant language. Analyzing almost 18,000 editorials revealed the more that women leaders referenced dominance, the more they were portrayed as dominant but also cold. Effects were strongest for Black and Latina women (Study 3). Finally, an experiment using simulated social media profiles found the more that Black women (but not men) leaders referenced dominance, the more voters rated them as less likeable, a result that was unique to Black leaders (Study 4). The article demonstrates the critical importance of intersectionality for understanding gender inequality in leaders’ communication and its reception by the media and the public.

Non-Binary Gender Economics
Katherine Coffman, Lucas Coffman & Keith Marzilli Ericson
NBER Working Paper, March 2024

Economics research has largely overlooked non-binary individuals. We aim to jump-start the literature by providing data on several economically-important beliefs and preferences. Among many results, non-binary individuals report more gender-based discrimination and express different career and life aspirations, including less desire for children. Anti-non-binary sentiment is stronger than anti-LGBT sentiment, and strongest among men. Non-binary respondents report lower assertiveness than men and women, and their social preferences are similar to men’s and less prosocial than women’s, with age an important moderator. Elicited beliefs reveal inaccurate stereotypes as people often mistake the direction of group differences or exaggerate their size.

Comparison of personality traits of two anti-oppression groups: Vegans and anarchists
Sophie Desjardins, Annabelle Giroux & Dominick Gamache
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Veganism and anarchism are burgeoning worldwide, yet very few studies have examined the psychological characteristics of people belonging to these two anti-oppression groups. The present study investigated whether vegans and anarchists, on the one hand, and activists and non-activists belonging to these two groups, on the other hand, exhibit distinct personality profiles. To this end, a sample of 180 adults who self-identify as vegans or anarchists completed an online socio-demographic questionnaire, the HEXACO Personality Inventory, and the Dark Triad Dirty Dozen. A discriminant function analysis showed that anarchists are more likely than vegans to self-identify as belonging to a gender other than female or male, or to identify with no gender at all. Further, the proportion of men was larger in the anarchist group than in the vegan group. In terms of personality traits, vegans scored higher on the Conscientiousness, Emotionality, and Honesty–Humility dimensions than anarchists did. Anarchists scored higher than vegans on Openness to Experience and Psychopathy. Activists and non-activists were not distinguished based on gender or personality traits. While the dynamics of power and oppression toward humans and toward animals share common factors, the present results suggest that veganism and anarchism attract anti-oppression advocates with distinct personality profiles.

Online images amplify gender bias
Douglas Guilbeault et al.
Nature, 29 February 2024, Pages 1049-1055

Each year, people spend less time reading and more time viewing images, which are proliferating online. Images from platforms such as Google and Wikipedia are downloaded by millions every day, and millions more are interacting through social media, such as Instagram and TikTok, that primarily consist of exchanging visual content. In parallel, news agencies and digital advertisers are increasingly capturing attention online through the use of images, which people process more quickly, implicitly and memorably than text. Here we show that the rise of images online significantly exacerbates gender bias, both in its statistical prevalence and its psychological impact. We examine the gender associations of 3,495 social categories (such as ‘nurse’ or ‘banker’) in more than one million images from Google, Wikipedia and Internet Movie Database (IMDb), and in billions of words from these platforms. We find that gender bias is consistently more prevalent in images than text for both female- and male-typed categories. We also show that the documented underrepresentation of women online is substantially worse in images than in text, public opinion and US census data. Finally, we conducted a nationally representative, preregistered experiment that shows that googling for images rather than textual descriptions of occupations amplifies gender bias in participants’ beliefs. Addressing the societal effect of this large-scale shift towards visual communication will be essential for developing a fair and inclusive future for the internet.

Do They Look the Same Unless They Are Angry? Investigating the Other-Race Effect in the Presence of Angry Expressions
Roland Imhoff, Barbara Müller & Verena Heidrich
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Ethnic out-group members are disproportionately more often the victim of misidentifications. The so-called other-race effect (ORE), the tendency to better remember faces of individuals belonging to one’s own ethnic in-group than faces belonging to an ethnic out-group, has been identified as one causal ingredient in such tragic incidents. Investigating an important aspect for the ORE -- that is, emotional expression -- the seminal study by Ackerman and colleagues (2006) found that White participants remembered neutral White faces better than neutral Black faces, but crucially, Black angry faces were better remembered than White angry faces (i.e., a reversed ORE). In the current study, we sought to replicate this study and directly tackle the potential causes for different results with later work. Three hundred ninety-six adult White U.S. citizens completed our study in which we manipulated the kind of employed stimuli (as in the original study vs. more standardized ones) whether participants knew of the recognition task already at the encoding phase. Additionally, participants were asked about the unusualness of the presented faces. We were able to replicate results from the Ackerman et al. (2006) study with the original stimuli but not with more standardized stimuli.

Pronoun usage and gender identity's effects on market outcomes: Evidence from a preregistered field experiment
Bryan Tomlin
Economics Letters, March 2024

A pre-registered field experiment was conducted to test of the effects that including one's preferred pronouns -- and in doing so signaling whether one is cisgender or transgender -- has on a landlord's decision to further pursue a rental inquiry. Focusing on small landlords seeking tenants for separate units located on their property (ADUs), the study finds that -- relative to applicants who did not disclose their preferred pronouns -- applicants who stated their preferred pronouns and whose pronouns signaled cisgender experienced a 17.0% decrease in response rates while applicants whose pronouns signaled transgender experienced a 17.9% decrease in response rates. These findings suggest a need for future study.

Black Women as Superwomen? The Mental Health Effects of Superwoman Schema, Socioeconomic Status, and Financial Strain
Christy Erving et al.
Social Problems, forthcoming

Informed by Black feminist thought and intersectionality, Superwoman Schema (SWS) is a construct that captures a collective response of Black women to racial and gender marginalization by highlighting expectations that they exude strength, suppress emotions, resist vulnerability, succeed despite limitations, and help others to their own self-neglect. Using a sample of Black women (N = 390) in early-midlife (between 30 and 46 years old; M = 37.54 years; SD = 4.29), this study integrates the intersectionality framework and the stress process model to examine the independent and interactive effects of SWS endorsement as well as socioeconomic status (SES) and financial strain on Black women’s mental health. Study results reveal that SWS dimensions “emotion suppression” and “obligation to help others” are associated with elevated depressive symptoms. In addition, net worth and financial strain, but not traditional measures of socioeconomic status such as education and income, moderate the association between SWS endorsement and depressive symptoms. Specifically, the association between SWS and depressive symptoms is strongest among Black women reporting negative net worth or high financial strain (e.g., not being able to make ends meet). Broader implications and future research directions are discussed.

Elevations in Blood Pressure Associated with Exposure to Violence are Mitigated by Pro-gun-Carrying Attitudes among Street-Identified Black Males and Females
Yasser Arafat Payne et al.
Journal of Urban Health, February 2024, Pages 11–22

Living in neighborhoods with elevated rates of violent crime, such as in many poor Black American communities, is a risk factor for a range of physical and mental health challenges. However, the individual different factors that influence health outcomes in these stressful environments remain poorly understood. This study examined relations between exposure to violence, gun-carrying attitudes, and blood pressure in a community sample of street-identified Black American boys/men and girls/women. Survey data and blood pressure were collected from 329 participants (ages 16–54; 57.1% male) recruited from two small urban neighborhoods with high rates of violence using street participatory action research methodology. Results revealed that systolic blood pressure was elevated in the sample as was exposure to severe forms of direct and vicarious violence (e.g., shootings, assault). Attitudes about carrying guns moderated associations between the degree of violence exposure endorsed by participants and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Specifically, the positive association between exposure to violence and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure at low levels of pro-gun-carrying attitudes was no longer apparent at high levels of pro-gun attitudes. Furthermore, pro-gun attitudes appeared to moderate the association between exposure to violence and systolic pressure for older participants but not younger participants. Results suggest that positive attitudes about carrying guns (presumably indicative of pro-gun-carrying behavior) weakened the link between violence exposure and blood pressure. These novel findings suggest that carrying a gun may protect against the harmful effects of chronic stress from violence exposure on physical health outcomes (i.e., hypertension) among street-identified Black Americans.


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