Kevin Lewis

November 18, 2021

Safe here, but unsafe there? Institutional signals of identity safety also signal prejudice in the broader environment
Izzy Gainsburg & Allison Earl
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Institutional efforts to create safe environments can function as signals to identity safety and reduce expectations of identity threat within the institution. Prior research on institutional identity safety signals, however, has yet to consider an important question: Do people use institutional identity safety signals to inform their expectations of identity threat in their broader social environments? Because people's day-to-day lives are often outside of signaling institutions, it is important to understand whether institutional identity safety signals also influence expectations of identity threat outside of the signaled space. Here, we explore this question by testing how the presence of safe spaces — designated areas where people can feel comfortable in their social identities and safe from prejudice — affect people's expectations of threat in their broader environments. Across four vignette-based studies using US participants sampled from Amazon's Mechanical Turk and an undergraduate subject pool, participants who read about someone observing a safe space sign (compared to signs unrelated to identity safety) reported increased prejudice expectations in their broader environments. These prejudice expectations mediated increased attributions of prejudice (Study 1); motivations to combat prejudice (Study 2); and support for movements and policies addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion (Study 3). These effects were not moderated by group membership. Results suggested that safe spaces increased prejudice expectations because they are perceived as a response to a problem in the broader environment. Together, the present research contributes to existing literature by testing the effects of a new signal (i.e., safe spaces), examining how localized identity safety signals transfer to the broader environment, and highlighting novel outcomes following from prejudice expectations. 

Race Deficits in Pain Detection: Medical Providers and Laypeople Fail to Accurately Perceive Pain Authenticity Among Black People
Paige Lloyd et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Across six studies (N = 904), we suggest a novel mechanism for race disparities in pain treatment: Perceiver deficits in discriminating real from fake pain for Black (relative to White) individuals. Across Studies 1–4, White participants (Studies 1–4) and Black participants (Study 2) were better at discerning authentic from inauthentic pain expressions for White targets than for Black targets. This effect emerged for both subtle (Studies 1 and 2) and intense (Studies 3 and 4) pain stimuli. Studies 5 and 6 examined consequences for medical care decisions by examining pain treatment recommendations by laypeople (Study 5) and pain authenticity judgments by medical providers (Study 6). This work advances theory in pain perception, emotion judgment, and intergroup relations. It also has practical significance for identifying unexplored mechanisms causing racial disparities in medical care. 

Which Narrative Strategies Durably Reduce Prejudice? Evidence from Field and Survey Experiments Supporting the Efficacy of Perspective-Getting
Joshua Kalla & David Broockman
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Exclusionary attitudes towards outgroups contribute to social and political challenges worldwide. Previous field experiments found that interpersonal conversations employing multiple narrative strategies can durably reduce exclusionary attitudes. We theoretically distinguish between three of these narrative strategies: narratives which promote analogic perspective taking, vicarious perspective-giving, and perspective-getting. Previous research has assigned these strategies together in a compound treatment, leaving open important theoretical and practical questions about each's effectiveness. We present results from three field studies and a survey experiment that individually manipulate their presence. Across the field studies, we find omitting prompts to engage in analogic perspective-taking and vicarious perspective-giving does not diminish effects; conversations employing only perspective-getting narratives durably reduce exclusionary attitudes. Results from within-subject analyses and a survey experiment similarly show that perspective-getting consistently reduces exclusionary attitudes and activates multiple mechanisms. These results refine theoretical understandings of prejudice reduction and support facilitating perspective-getting in conversations intended to reduce exclusionary attitudes. 

Petty in Pink: Clothing Color Moderates Audience Perceptions of a Female Politician’s Verbal Aggression
Adam Richards, Patrick Rice & Loni Covington
Journal of Language and Social Psychology, forthcoming  

This research assessed whether the color of a female politician’s clothing affected perceptions of her verbal aggression. In the context of Kamala Harris attacking Donald Trump, a 2 (color: pink vs. gray) × 2 (verbal aggression: low vs. high) experiment was conducted. While wearing pink, participants perceived Harris as more competent and reported more message-consistent perceptions if she used low rather than high verbal aggression. While wearing gray, high rather than low verbal aggression was perceived more favorably. 

Little evidence for sex or ovarian hormone influences on affective variability
Alexander Weigard, Amy Loviska & Adriene Beltz
Scientific Reports, October 2021

Women were historically excluded from research participation partly due to the assumption that ovarian hormone fluctuations lead to variation, especially in emotion, that could not be experimentally controlled. Although challenged in principle and practice, relevant empirical data are limited by single measurement occasions. The current paper fills this knowledge gap using data from a 75-day intensive longitudinal study. Three indices of daily affective variability — volatility, emotional inertia, and cyclicity — were evaluated using Bayesian inferential methods in 142 men, naturally cycling women, and women using three different oral contraceptive formulations (that “stabilize” hormone fluctuations). Results provided more evidence for similarities between men and women — and between naturally cycling women and oral contraceptive users — than for differences. Even if differences exist, effects are likely small. Thus, there is little indication that ovarian hormones influence affective variability in women to a greater extent than the biopsychosocial factors that influence daily emotion in men. 

Functional Inferences of Formidability Bias Perceptions of Mental Distress
Mitch Brown et al.
Evolutionary Psychological Science, December 2021, Pages 401–410

Humans infer men’s formidability through their facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR), subsequently eliciting perceptions of men’s capability to engage in aggressive physical conflict. Inferring formidable men as being particularly resistant to mental distress from physical conflict may pose downstream consequences, such as biasing mental health assessments that impede optimal treatment recommendations. Participants assessed potential mental distress of hypothetical military service members who varied in fWHR and indicated their willingness to assess and treat these symptoms. Formidable men were inferred as mentally tough, further biasing perceptions of them as not experiencing mental distress and not receiving subsequent care. We further replicated infrahumanization effects surrounding formidable men demonstrating individuals perceive them as less capable of feeling complex emotions, though treatment recommendations were driven by mental toughness perceptions rather than infrahumanization. Results are framed from an evolutionary perspective of affordance judgments. We discuss translational implications for clinical mental health. 

What’s in a Name? The Hidden Historical Ideologies Embedded in the Black and African American Racial Labels
Erika Hall, Sarah Townsend & James Carter
Psychological Science, November 2021, Pages 1720-1730

History can inconspicuously repeat itself through words and language. We explored the association between the “Black” and “African American” racial labels and the ideologies of the historical movements within which they gained prominence (Civil Rights and Black Power, respectively). Two content analyses and two preregistered experimental studies (N = 1,204 White American adults) show that the associations between “Black” and “bias and discrimination” and between “African American” and “civil rights and equality” are evident in images, op-eds, and perceptions of organizations. Google Images search results for “Black people” evoke more racially victimized imagery than search results for “African American people” (Study 1), and op-eds that use the Black label contain more bias and discrimination content than those that use the African American label (Study 2). Finally, White Americans infer the ideologies of organizations by the racial label within the organization’s name (Studies 3 and 4). Consequently, these inferences guide the degree to which Whites support the organization financially. 

Appearance Reveals Music Preferences
Laura Tian, Ravin Alaei & Nicholas Rule
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Disclosing idiosyncratic preferences can help to broker new social interactions. For instance, strangers exchange music preferences to signal their identities, values, and preferences. Recognizing that people’s physical appearances guide their decisions about social engagement, we examined whether cues to people’s music preferences in their physical appearance and expressive poses help to guide social interaction. We found that perceivers could detect targets’ music preferences from photos of their bodies, heads, faces, eyes, and mouths (but not hair) and that the targets’ apparent traits (e.g., submissiveness, neatness) undergirded these judgments. Perceivers also desired to meet individuals who appeared to match their music preferences versus those who did not. Music preferences therefore seem to manifest in appearance, regulating interest in others and suggesting that one’s identity redundantly emerges across different types of cues. People may thus infer others’ music preferences to identify candidates for social bonding. 

Little Between-Region and Between-Country Variance When People Form Impressions of Others
Neil Hester, Sally Xie & Eric Hehman
Psychological Science, forthcoming 

To what extent are perceivers’ first impressions of other individuals dictated by cultural background rather than personal idiosyncrasies? To address this question, we analyzed a globally diverse data set containing 11,481 adult participants’ ratings of 120 targets across 45 countries (2,597,624 total ratings). Across ratings of 13 traits, we found that perceivers’ idiosyncratic differences accounted for approximately 29% of variance and impressions on their own and approximately 16% in conjunction with target characteristics. However, country- and region-level differences, here a proxy for culture, accounted for 3.2% on average (i.e., both alone and in conjunction with target characteristics). We replicated this pattern of effects in a preregistered analysis on an entirely novel data set containing 7,007 participants’ ratings of 100 targets across 41 countries (24,886 total ratings). Together, these results suggest that perceivers’ impressions of other people are largely dictated by their individual characteristics and local environment rather than their cultural background. 

This One’s for the Boys: How Gendered Political Socialization Limits Girls’ Political Ambition and Interest
Angela Bos et al.
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

This article develops and tests a new theoretical framework, gendered political socialization, which offers important insights into how children perceive gender in politics and the consequences of these perceptions on sex differences in political interest and ambition. Based on data from 1,604 children who live in four different regions across the United States, we find that children not only perceive politics to be a male-dominated space, but with age, girls increasingly see political leadership as a “man’s world.” Simultaneously, as children grow older, they internalize gendered expectations, which direct their interests toward professions that embody the gendered traits that fit with their own sex. One result of this mismatch between women and politics is that girls express lower levels of interest and ambition in politics than do boys. 

Who Identifies as Anti-Racist? Racial Identity, Color-Blindness, and Generic Liberalism
Samuel Perry, Kenneth Frantz & Joshua Grubbs
Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, November 2021

Although decades old, the terms “anti-racism/antiracism” and “anti-racist/antiracist” have grown in usage by scholars, authors, and activists to convey the necessity of active opposition to racial injustice. But as the terms have become more mainstream, researchers have yet to examine the social and ideological correlates of actually describing oneself as “anti-racist.” Drawing on nationally representative survey data fielded at the height of national interest in “antiracist/anti-racist” language, the authors find that Blacks and Hispanics are significantly less likely than whites to describe themselves as “anti-racist,” and only the “very liberal” are more likely than other political orientations to identify with the label. Considering ideological correlates, progressive racial ideology is the strongest predictor of identifying as “anti-racist.” However, the second strongest correlate is describing oneself as “color-blind.” Analyses of quadratic terms suggests that this correlation is curvilinear for nonwhites but more linear for whites. Although originally conveying more radical and subversive ideals, those currently most likely to self-describe as “anti-racist” are white progressives with what we call “generically liberal” racial views. 

Early perceptions of COVID-19 intensity and anti-Asian prejudice among White Americans
Tara Mandalaywala, Gorana Gonzalez & Linda Tropp
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming 

Anecdotal reports suggested an uptick in anti-Asian prejudice corresponding with the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Examining responses from White U.S. citizens (N = 589) during the first months of the pandemic, this study tested: (a) whether actual intensity (official number of cases or deaths reported) or perceived intensity (participants’ estimates of the same) of the COVID-19 outbreak predicted indicators of racial outgroup prejudice, particularly those associated with cross-group interaction, (b) whether outgroup prejudice was oriented toward Asian people specifically, or toward racial outgroups more broadly (e.g., toward both Asian people and Black people), and (c) whether contact with racial outgroups moderated relations between COVID-19 intensity and racial prejudice. Results showed that perceived COVID-19 intensity was associated with prejudice indicators representing the desire for social distance from Asian people, as well as from Black people, yet it was unrelated to reports of negative affect toward either racial outgroup. These patterns support the idea that prejudice during periods of disease outbreak might functionally serve to reduce willingness for interaction with, and likelihood of infection from, racial outgroups. Contact moderated the relation between official reports of COVID-19 intensity and support for anti-China travel policies, such that greater contact with Asian people was associated with less support for exclusionary, anti-China travel policies when actual COVID-19 intensity was high. Overall, these results suggest that intensity of disease threat can exacerbate racial outgroup prejudice and reduce willingness for cross-group interaction, but that intergroup contact may sometimes provide a prejudice-attenuating effect. 

“Beauty Too Rich for Use”: Billionaires’ Assets and Attractiveness
Daniel Hamermesh & Andrew Leigh
NBER Working Paper, October 2021

We examine how the net worth of billionaires relates to their looks, as rated by 16 people of different gender and ethnicity. Surprisingly, their financial assets are unrelated to their beauty; nor are they related to their educational attainment. As a group, however, billionaires are both more educated and better-looking than average for their age. Men, people who reside in Western countries, and those who inherited substantial wealth, are wealthier than other billionaires. The results do not arise from measurement error or nonrandom sample selectivity. They are consistent with econometric theory about the impact of truncating a sample to include observations only from the extreme tail of the dependent variable. The point is underscored by comparing estimates of earnings equations using all employees in the 2018 American Community Survey to those using a sample of the top 0.1 percent. The findings suggest the powerful role of luck within the extremes of the distributions of economic outcomes.


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