Kevin Lewis

March 25, 2021

Can a pandemic make people more socially conservative? Political ideology, gender roles, and the case of COVID‐19
Daniel Rosenfeld & Janet Tomiyama
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming


The first months of 2020 rapidly threw people into a period of societal turmoil and pathogen threat with the COVID‐19 pandemic. By promoting epistemic and existential motivational processes and activating people's behavioral immune systems, this pandemic may have changed social and political attitudes. The current research specifically asked the following question: As COVID‐19 became pronounced in the United States during the pandemic's emergence, did people living there become more socially conservative? We present a repeated‐measures study (N = 695) that assessed political ideology, gender role conformity, and gender stereotypes among U.S. adults before (January 25-26, 2020) versus during (March 19-April 2, 2020) the pandemic. During the pandemic, participants reported conforming more strongly to traditional gender roles and believing more strongly in traditional gender stereotypes than they did before the pandemic. Political ideology remained constant over time. These findings suggest that a pandemic may promote the preference for traditional gender roles.

Intersecting Boundaries: Comparing Stereotypes of Native- and Foreign-Born Members of Ethnoracial Groups
Ariela Schachter
Social Forces, forthcoming


Past research finds that Americans hold biased stereotypes about ethnoracial groups and about immigrants, but we lack an understanding of how these group identities intersect. Immigration theories offer opposing predictions; while the straight-line assimilation model predicts Americans will hold weaker ethnoracial stereotypes about the native-born compared to their immigrant coethnics, theories of racialized assimilation suggest that the enduring power of race will limit any differential stereotyping of immigrant and native-born members of racialized groups. I use an original survey experiment to compare Americans’ stereotypes of native- and foreign-born members of the four largest ethnoracial groups in the United States - Whites, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians. As predicted by straight-line assimilation theory, I find that Whites’ negative stereotypes of Latinos fade away with nativity; however, White Americans do not substantially alter their stereotypes of Asians and Blacks based on nativity status. Moreover, native-born Black and Latino Americans do not appear to hold differential stereotypes of ethnoracial groups based on their nativity status. This research highlights both the importance and limitations of accounting for nativity status to understand ethnoracial group boundaries in the United States.

Patterns of Implicit and Explicit Stereotypes III: Long-Term Change in Gender Stereotypes
Tessa Charlesworth & Mahzarin Banaji
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming


Gender stereotypes are widely shared “collective representations” that link gender groups (e.g., male/female) with roles or attributes (e.g., career/family, science/arts). Such collective stereotypes, especially implicit stereotypes, are assumed to be so deeply embedded in society that they are resistant to change. Yet over the past several decades, shifts in real-world gender roles suggest the possibility that gender stereotypes may also have changed alongside such shifts. The current project tests the patterns of recent gender stereotype change using a decade (2007-2018) of continuously collected data from 1.4 million implicit and explicit tests of gender stereotypes (male-science/female-arts, male-career/female-family). Time series analyses revealed that, over just 10 years, both implicit and explicit male-science/female-arts and male-career/female-family stereotypes have shifted toward neutrality, weakening by 13%-19%. Furthermore, these trends were observed across nearly all demographic groups and in all geographic regions of the United States and several other countries, indicating worldwide shifts in collective implicit and explicit gender stereotypes.

Why we can’t talk openly about race: The impact of race and partisanship on respondents’ perceptions of intergroup conversations
Osei Appiah et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming


Conversations about race-specific issues with interracial conversation partners can be important to combat prejudice and foster mutual understanding. Using a national U.S. sample of 201 Black Democrats, 199 Black Republicans, 200 White Democrats, and 200 White Republicans, this study examined the role that race and partisanship play in individuals’ desire to have political discussions about race-specific topics with racial outgroups. Findings indicate that Blacks in general expected more negative outcomes of race talk with racial outgroups, and Republicans were more likely to attempt to avoid interracial conversations about race. However, these findings were qualified by an interaction between race and partisanship such that White Democrats anticipated fewer negative outcomes from cross-race conversations about race than all other subgroups, and Black Democrats expected more negative outcomes than all other subgroups. Black and White Republicans did not differ from one another and fell roughly between the two Democratic subgroups. Nonetheless, it was White Republicans who were most likely to want to avoid race-specific conversations with cross-race discussion partners, rating significantly more avoidant than Black Republicans and White Democrats, but not Black Democrats.

The “gay agenda:” How the myth of gay affluence impedes the progress toward equality
Maria Laura Bettinsoli, Jaime Napier & Andrea Carnaghi
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming


Despite the fact that gay men and lesbian women face significant economic disparities compared to their heterosexual counterparts, people appear to believe that the opposite is true, a phenomenon which has been dubbed the “myth of gay affluence.” In the current research (Ntot=2162), we address the consequences of this belief. Specifically, we hypothesize and find that believing that gay men and lesbian women are financially well off - either chronically (Study 1) or because of an experimental manipulation (Studies 2‐3) - leads participants to deny discrimination against gay men and lesbian women, above and beyond anti‐gay attitudes, and this is mediated by the belief that there is a “gay agenda” that is backed by powerful lobbyists. Thus, perpetuating this myth - either intentionally or inadvertently - could have deleterious effects on efforts for social change and the promotion of rights for sexual minorities.

Understanding the appeal of libertarianism: Gender and race differences in the endorsement of libertarian principles
Mary‐Kate Lizotte & Thomas Warren
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming


There is a stereotype of libertarians being young, college educated, white men and that the Libertarian Party lacks appeal among women and individuals of color. There is a great deal of research investigating gender differences in public opinion on a number of issues including the provision of government resources and government spending (Barnes and Cassese; Howell and Day). Nevertheless, there is no work specifically investigating why women and nonwhites do not find libertarianism appealing. We test several hypotheses using 2016 American National Election Study data and 2013 PRRI data. We find a sizeable and significant gender gap and race gap in support for libertarian principles. We investigate several explanations for these gaps finding moderate support for self‐interest, racial attitudes, and egalitarianism as reasons for women and African Americans being less supportive of Libertarian Principles. We believe that the modest success of and media attention garnered by Ron Paul and Rand Paul in recent years along with the success of the Libertarian Party presidential ticket in 2016 highlights the need to understand who is drawn to libertarianism and why.

Veterans and Media: The Effects of News Exposure on Thoughts, Attitudes, and Support of Military Veterans
Scott Parrott, David Albright & Nicholas Eckhart
Armed Forces & Society, forthcoming


The mass media are an important source of information concerning military service personnel and veterans. Veterans, veterans organizations, and others have criticized the mass media for providing the public shallow representations of veterans and military service in which veterans are heroes traumatized mentally and/or physically by their service. Despite the concern, scant research has empirically examined how exposure to such content affects public perceptions of veterans. Using an experiment, this study examined how exposure to news stories of military veterans informed thoughts, attitudes, and support intentions toward veterans. Results suggest short, one-time exposure to stereotypical news stories can lead readers to perceive an increased likelihood veterans will experience post-traumatic stress disorder and, in turn, feel less desire to be socially close with veterans. However, exposure to a story that challenges stereotypical representations of veterans appears to mitigate the effect. In addition, news exposure can influence support intentions related to veterans.

The neural basis of ideological differences in race categorization
Amy Krosch, John Jost & Jay Van Bavel
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, February 2021


Multiracial individuals are often categorized as members of their ‘socially subordinate’ racial group - a form of social discrimination termed hypodescent - with political conservatives more likely than liberals to show this bias. Although hypodescent has been linked to racial hierarchy preservation motives, it remains unclear how political ideology influences categorization: Do conservatives and liberals see, feel or think about mixed-race faces differently? Do they differ in sensitivity to Black prototypicality (i.e. skin tone darkness and Afrocentric features) or racial ambiguity (i.e. categorization difficulty) of Black/White mixed-race faces? To help answer these questions, we collected a politically diverse sample of White participants and had them categorize mixed-race faces as Black or White during functional neuroimaging. We found that conservatism was related to greater anterior insula activity to racially ambiguous faces, and this pattern of brain activation mediated conservatives' use of hypodescent. This demonstrates that conservatives' greater sensitivity to racial ambiguity (rather than Black prototypicality) gives rise to greater categorization of mixed-race individuals into the socially subordinate group and tentatively suggests that conservatives may differ from liberals in their affective reactions to mixed-race faces. Implications for the study of race categorization and political psychology are discussed.

Biases and their impact on opinions of transgender bathroom usage
Zakary Clements & Geoffrey Munro
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming


The relationship between personality traits and biased assimilation, evaluating arguments, and persuasive messages more favorably if supporting pre‐existing attitudes, lacks adequate research. Research suggests that higher narcissistic traits are associated with biased reactions. Additionally, research suggests that people with greater scientific reasoning abilities have more biased reactions to information that challenges their attitude, as they more easily locate flaws on topics that oppose their beliefs. Participants (N = 260) completed measures to identify their views on trans bathroom use, as well as other personality and attitude measures. They were randomly assigned to read one of the two articles using fake scientific data that either supported trans people using a bathroom reflecting their gender identity or that they should use a bathroom matching their sex‐assigned at birth. Participants rated the quality of the article significantly higher when their opinion on bathroom use was congruent with the article than when it was incongruent. We used regression analyses with participants' perceptions of the quality of the article as the outcome variable and scientific reasoning scores, narcissism personality index scores, open‐mindedness scores as predictor variables. In the mismatch group, the higher the scores on scientific reasoning, the lower the ratings of the quality of the opinion incongruent article. In the match group, the higher the scores on open‐mindedness, the lower the ratings of the quality of the opinion congruent article. This research suggests that bias reduction is necessary to function in a world where scientific facts are called into question on a consistent basis.

Worse Than Objects: The Depiction of Black Women and Men and Their Sexual Relationship in Pornography
Niki Fritz et al.
Gender Issues, March 2021, Pages 100-120


Previous content analyses of pornography suggest black women are more often the target of aggression compared to white women. Furthermore, research suggested that the most aggressive depictions occurred between interracial couples. The last content analysis on this topic was published in the 1990s, however. The current study examined 1741 pornographic scenes featuring heterosexual couples (including 118 scenes with black women) from two of the largest online pornographic streaming tube sites in the world ( and Findings suggest black women are still more often the target of aggression when compared to white women. In addition, black men are more often portrayed as the perpetrators of aggression against women and are depicted as significantly less intimate with their partners in comparison to white men. Notably, depictions of aggression towards women are highest in scenes featuring black couples compared to all other racial pairings including interracial. Further exploration of the depiction of other sexual behaviors, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex, indicated these behaviors did not vary significantly based on actor’s race.

Sex differences in early experience and the development of aggression in wild chimpanzees
Kris Sabbi et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 23 March 2021


Sex differences in physical aggression occur across human cultures and are thought to be influenced by active sex role reinforcement. However, sex differences in aggression also exist in our close evolutionary relatives, chimpanzees, who do not engage in active teaching, but do exhibit long juvenile periods and complex social systems that allow differential experience to shape behavior. Here we ask whether early life exposure to aggression is sexually dimorphic in wild chimpanzees and, if so, whether other aspects of early sociality contribute to this difference. Using 13 y of all-occurrence aggression data collected from the Kanyawara community of chimpanzees (2005 to 2017), we determined that young male chimpanzees were victims of aggression more often than females by between 4 and 5 (i.e., early in juvenility). Combining long-term aggression data with data from a targeted study of social development (2015 to 2017), we found that two potential risk factors for aggression - time spent near adult males and time spent away from mothers - did not differ between young males and females. Instead, the major risk factor for receiving aggression was the amount of aggression that young chimpanzees displayed, which was higher for males than females throughout the juvenile period. In multivariate models, sex did not mediate this relationship, suggesting that other chimpanzees did not target young males specifically, but instead responded to individual behavior that differed by sex. Thus, social experience differed by sex even in the absence of explicit gender socialization, but experiential differences were shaped by early-emerging sex differences in behavior.

Updating Long-Held Assumptions About Fat Stigma: For Women, Body Shape Plays a Critical Role
Jaimie Arona Krems & Steven Neuberg
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming


Heavier bodies - particularly female bodies - are stigmatized. Such fat stigma is pervasive, painful to experience, and may even facilitate weight gain, thereby perpetuating the weight-stigma cycle. Leveraging research on functionally distinct forms of fat (deposited on different parts of the body), we propose that body shape plays an important but largely underappreciated role in fat stigma, above and beyond fat amount. Across three samples varying in participant ethnicity (White and Black Americans) and nation (United States, India), patterns of fat stigma reveal that, as hypothesized, participants differently stigmatized equally overweight or equally obese female targets as a function of target shape, sometimes even more strongly stigmatizing targets with less rather than more body mass. Such findings suggest value in updating our understanding of fat stigma to include body shape and in querying a predominating, but often implicit, theoretical assumption that people simply view all fat as ‘bad’ (and more fat as ‘worse’).

Facial width-to-height ratios and deception skill
David Matsumoto & Hyisung Hwang
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming


Prior research on facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) has demonstrated links between it and numerous traits and antisocial behavior, including deception. No study, however, has examined whether fWHR is associated with deception skills. Here, a community sample of N = 72 individuals were randomly assigned to truth or lie conditions in a mock theft experiment and interviewed. Video clips from the interviews were shown to N = 248 observers, who judged whether the interviewees were telling the truth or lying, the likelihood that interviewees committed a theft, and confidence in their judgments. There was no association between fWHR and accuracy scores or confidence ratings, and good and bad truthtellers and liars did not differ in their fWHR. Instead, people with larger fWHR, regardless of veracity condition, sex, or ethnicity, were more likely to be judged inaccurately as lying and as having committed the crime. fWHR may influence social perceptions about deception.

Formidable male facial structures influence postconflict reconciliation judgments
Mitch Brown, Donald Sacco & Nicole Barbaro
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Individuals utilize male facial structures to make inferences regarding men’s formidability, with a high facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) being associated with greater perceived male formidability. Although such men would additionally be perceived as interpersonally threatening and prompt general aversion, ingratiation following conflict could prove advantageous to prevent future conflict. Defeated men typically ingratiate themselves heavily with other men following physical conflict through postconflict reconciliation, which could serve to strengthen coalitional bonds. We conducted two studies to identify how men expect postconflict reconciliation to occur based on the presence of facial structures connoting formidability. Men indicated their expectations of displaying and receiving respect toward high- and low-fWHR men following hypothetical wins and losses in physical fights with them; Study 1 (N = 238) only considered White opponents, and Study 2 (N = 303) compared Black and White opponents. Participants expected to display similar levels of respect toward high- and low-fWHR opponents but expected to receive less respect from high-fWHR targets (Studies 1 and 2), particularly if they were Black (Study 2). The findings provide initial evidence for how facial structures connoting formidability shape post-conflict reconciliation judgments.


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