The divergent effects of diversity ideologies for race and gender relations
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, March 2023
The present research compares the influence of diversity ideologies on race and gender relations. In contrast to research suggesting that an identity-aware ideology (i.e., multiculturalism or race-awareness) predicts more support for racial equality than does an identity-blind one (i.e., colorblindness or race-blindness), this paper suggests that the opposite is true for gender. Six studies demonstrate that an identity-aware ideology (compared to an identity-blind one) highlights unique types of race and gender differences, leading to divergent outcomes for race and gender inequality. While race-awareness highlights external, opportunity-based differences, promoting support for policies that combat systemic inequality (e.g., affirmative action), gender-awareness highlights internal, biology-based differences, reifying gender-essentialism, broadly, and gender stereotypes, in particular. Together, this work suggests that the beneficial effects of identity-aware ideologies previously found for race may not be effective for gender. Ultimately, it warns against one-size-fits-all approaches to diversity and offers practical implications for diversity science.
Social Class and Social Pain: Target SES Biases Judgments of Pain and Support for White Target Individuals
Brielle Johnson et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming
Social pain, defined as distress caused by negative interpersonal experiences (e.g., ostracism, mistreatment), is detrimental to health. Yet, it is unclear how social class might shape judgments of the social pains of low-socioeconomic status (SES) and high-SES individuals. Five studies tested competing toughness and empathy predictions for SES’s effect on social pain judgments. Consistent with an empathy account, in all studies (Ncumulative = 1,046), low-SES White targets were judged more sensitive to social pain than high-SES White targets. Further, empathy mediated these effects, such that participants felt greater empathy and expected more social pain for low-SES targets relative to high-SES targets. Social pain judgments also informed judgments of social support needs, as low-SES targets were presumed to need more coping resources to manage hurtful events than high-SES targets. The current findings provide initial evidence that empathic concern for low-SES White individuals sensitizes social pain judgments and increases expected support needs for lower class White individuals.
Something to Prove? Manhood Threats Increase Political Aggression Among Liberal Men
Sarah DiMuccio & Eric Knowles
Sex Roles, forthcoming
Manhood is a precarious state that men seek to prove through the performance of masculine behaviors -- including, at times, acts of aggression. Although correlational work has demonstrated a link between chronic masculine insecurity and political aggression (i.e., support for policies and candidates that communicate toughness and strength), experimental work on the topic is sparse. Existing studies also provide little insight into which men -- liberal or conservative -- are most likely to display increased political aggression after threats to their masculinity. The present work thus examines the effects of masculinity threat on liberal and conservative men’s tendency toward political aggression. We exposed liberal and conservative men to various masculinity threats, providing them with feminine feedback about their personality traits (Experiment 1), having them paint their nails (Experiment 2), and leading them to believe that they were physically weak (Experiment 3). Across experiments, and contrary to our initial expectations, threat increased liberal -- but not conservative -- men’s preference for a wide range of aggressive political policies and behaviors (e.g., the death penalty, bombing an enemy country). Integrative data analysis (IDA) reveals significant heterogeneity in the influence of different threats on liberal men’s political aggression, the most effective of which was intimations of physical weakness. A multiverse analysis suggests that these findings are robust across a range of reasonable data-treatment and modeling choices. Possible sources of liberal men’s heightened responsiveness to manhood threats are discussed.
"Born this Way"? Prenatal Exposure to Testosterone May Determine Behavior in Competition and Conflict
Pablo Brañas-Garza et al.
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming
Fetal exposure to sex hormones can have long lasting effects on human behavior. The second-to-fourth digit ratio (DR) is considered a putative marker for prenatal exposure to testosterone (vs. estrogens), with higher exposure resulting in lower DR. Even though testosterone is theoretically related to competition, the role of DR in human behavior is debated; and in situations such as bilateral conflict is unknown. We investigate this through a laboratory experiment using a repeated 2-person Tullock contest played in fixed same-gender pairs. Based on a previously obtained large sample of student subjects, we selectively invited participants to the laboratory if their right-hand DR was in the top (High-DR) or bottom (Low-DR) tercile for their gender. Unbeknownst to the subjects, we performed a controlled match of the DR types (Low-Low, Low-High, High-High). This novel methodology allows us to analyze the causal effect of DR on behavior for the first time in the literature. We find that Low-DR (vs. High-DR) males compete more aggressively regardless of the counterpart’s type. For females’ conflict behavior, the counterpart’s type matters more than the decision-maker’s type: Low-DRs are non-significantly more aggressive but everyone is more aggressive against High-DRs. Limitations due to sample size are discussed.
Stereotypes disrupt probabilistic category learning
Yrian Derreumaux et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming
Racial stereotypes exert pernicious effects on decision-making and behavior, yet little is known about how stereotypes disrupt people's ability to learn new associations. The current research interrogates a fundamental question about the boundary conditions of probabilistic learning by examining whether and how learning is influenced by preexisting associations. Across three experiments, participants learned the probabilistic outcomes of different card combinations based on feedback in either a social (e.g., forecasting crime) or nonsocial (e.g., forecasting weather) learning context. During learning, participants were presented with either task-irrelevant social (i.e., Black or White faces) or nonsocial (i.e., darker or lighter clouds) stimuli that were stereotypically congruent or incongruent with the learning context. Participants exhibited learning disruptions in the social compared to nonsocial learning context, despite repeated instructions that the stimuli were unrelated to the outcome (Studies 1 and 2). We also found no differences in learning disruptions when participants learned in the presence of negatively (Black and criminal) or positively valenced stereotypes (Black and athletic; Study 3). Finally, we tested whether learning decrements were due to “first-order” stereotype application or inhibition at the trial level, or due to “second-order” cognitive load disruptions that accumulate across trials due to fears of appearing prejudiced (aggregated analysis). We found no evidence of first-order disruptions and instead found evidence for second-order disruptions: participants who were more internally motivated to respond without prejudice, and thus more likely to self-monitor their responses, learned less accurately over time. We discuss the implications of the influence of stereotypes on learning and memory.
Shared Status, Shared Politics? Evaluating a New Pathway to Black Solidarity with Other People of Color
Efrén Pérez, Bianca Vicuña & Alisson Ramos
Political Behavior, forthcoming
Research suggests that solidarity between people of color (PoC) is triggered when a marginalized ingroup believes they are discriminated similarly to another outgroup. This evidence has primarily focused on Asian Americans, Latinos, and Middle Eastern people, who are systematically discriminated against as foreigners. Yet evidence remains absent on Black people, who are systematically discriminated against as inferior, but not as foreign. Using a pair of pre-registered experiments with Black and Latino adults (N = 2060), we manipulated a shared sense of discrimination as inferior (“second class citizenship”). This treatment measurably increased Black solidarity with PoC, which then significantly boosted their support for pro-Latino policies (e.g., less Border Patrol agents along US-Mexico border). This pattern was reciprocated by Latinos, whose heightened solidarity with PoC increased their support for pro-Black initiatives (e.g., endorsing #BlackLivesMatter). Sensitivity analyses further establish this pathway’s viability. We discuss the implications for more effective coalition-building among racially minoritized groups in US politics.
Less biased yet more defensive: The impact of control processes
Joseph Vitriol, Brian O'Shea & Jimmy Calanchini
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming
Educational and training programs designed to reduce racial bias often focus on increasing people’s awareness of psychological sources of their biases. However, when people learn about their biases, they often respond defensively, which can undermine the effectiveness of antibias interventions and the success of prejudice regulation. Using process (Quad) modeling, we provide one of the first investigations of the relationships between (a) controlled and automatic cognitive processes that underpin performance on the Implicit Association Test and (b) defensive reactions to unflattering implicit racial bias feedback. In two correlational samples (one preregistered; N = 8,000) and one experiment in which the provision of bias feedback was manipulated (N = 547), we find racially biased associations and some control over these associations among White people. Nonetheless, more defensiveness to bias feedback consistently predicted weaker ability to control biased associations. We also find correlational evidence that lower levels of biased associations predict more defensiveness, but did not replicate this observation in the experimental study. These results are critical for theories of implicit attitudes, models of prejudice regulation, and strategies for antibias interventions.
What Color is a Golden Boy? The Glorification and Disparagement of Male Superstar Athletes in Sports Illustrated
Joshua Woods & Matthew Hartwell
Social Currents, forthcoming
This study examined media representations of male superstar athletes over more than three decades. Some journalists portrayed their subjects as smart, physically attractive young men at the top of their games. Other writers emphasized their flaws and told stories of tarnished heroes. Based on an analysis of 140 references to sports stars in Sports Illustrated magazine articles, the results showed that favorable and unfavorable framing of athletes depended on their race/ethnicity, the dominance of their sport, and the historical context in which they played. Compared to white sports stars, racial minority athletes were more often portrayed with unfavorable frames, such as unintelligent, immoral, or lacking charm. Athletes from lesser-known sports were also more likely to be described with unfavorable frames than athletes from the four most dominant sports in the US (football, basketball, baseball, and hockey). Both favorable and unfavorable frames were more common in articles published in the most recent period (2013–2021) than in earlier decades (1987–2012), signaling an increasing interest among journalists in the personal qualities of sports stars. The study provides new empirical and theoretical insight on the relationships between three social antecedents -- racism, hegemonic sport culture, and technological change -- and the framing of superstar athletes.