Kevin Lewis

November 29, 2012

Effects of the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign on White Racial Prejudice

Seth Goldman
Public Opinion Quarterly, Winter 2012, Pages 663-687

Research on the importance of race in the 2008 presidential campaign has focused almost exclusively on how white racial prejudice influenced vote choice. Instead, I test a theory about how mass public exposure to Obama influenced white racial prejudice. This is the first study to assess the impact of exposure to Obama on individual-level changes in prejudice using nationally representative panel data collected during the campaign. Throughout the campaign, innumerable images of Obama and his family contradicted negative racial stereotypes and changed the balance of black exemplars in mass media in a positive direction, thus causing reductions in prejudice among political television viewers. Exposure to Obama caused the largest reductions in prejudice among McCain supporters, Republicans, and conservatives. Although these individuals surely resisted Obama's political message, consistent with previous research, racial exemplars influence judgments without deliberative processing, thus minimizing resistance to counter-stereotypical portrayals. Because conservatives have more negative preexisting images of blacks, exposure to Obama countered their expectations far more than those with more positive expectations. Moreover, consistent with the psychological basis for mediated intergroup contact, even exposure to conservative programs that criticized Obama's politics reduced prejudice because these programs nonetheless portrayed him as countering negative racial stereotypes. Using three waves of panel data and fixed effects analyses of within-person change, I am able to make the strongest causal argument possible outside of experiments.


Does This Recession Make Me Look Black? The Effect of Resource Scarcity on the Categorization of Biracial Faces

Christopher Rodeheffer, Sarah Hill & Charles Lord
Psychological Science, forthcoming

"Seventy-one White undergraduates (18 male, 53 female) participated...In the scarcity condition, they viewed a slide show consisting of captioned pictures of economic hardship (e.g., a picture of an empty office with captions about a dearth of good jobs); in the abundance condition, they viewed a slide show consisting of captioned pictures suggesting prosperity (e.g., a picture of a thriving office with captions about there being plenty of good jobs). Participants in both conditions then viewed photographs of 20 biracial faces (10 male, 10 female). For each face, participants were asked, 'If you had to choose, would it be more accurate to describe this biracial individual as Black or White?'...As predicted, participants in the scarcity condition categorized more faces as Black (M = 9.35, SD = 2.80) than did those in the abundance condition (M = 7.82, SD = 3.15), t(69) = 2.16, p = .034, d = 0.51."


Stereotypical and Counterstereotypical Defendants: Who Is He and What Was the Case Against Her?

Blake McKimmie et al.
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, forthcoming

Three studies investigated the effects of stereotype congruence on juror decision making by focusing on how defendant gender affects the way in which jurors attend to aspects of the case. Due to the female defendant's incongruence with offender stereotypes, mock jurors may direct greater attention to encoding features of the defendant at the expense of carefully considering the evidence. Study 1 (N = 101) found that mock jurors took into account the strength of the evidence against male (stereotypical), but not female (counterstereotypical) defendants. Consistent with this, Study 2 (N = 144) demonstrated that mock jurors were less able to recall facts of the case, but better able to recall details of the defendant, when the defendant was female rather than male. The third and final study (N = 113) found that participants spent longer looking at a female defendant than they did looking at a male defendant in a video simulation of a mock trial. Results are discussed in light of the encoding-flexibility explanation of the influence of stereotypes.


Blinding Trust: The Effect of Perceived Group Victimhood on Intergroup Trust

Katie Rotella et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Four studies investigate how perceptions that one's social group has been victimized in society - that is, perceived group victimhood (PGV) - influence intergroup trust. Jewish and politically conservative participants played an economic trust game ostensibly with "partners" from their ingroup and/or a salient outgroup. Across studies, participants dispositionally or primed to be high in PGV revealed greater trust behavior with ingroup than outgroup partners. Control participants and those dispositionally low in PGV did not display such bias. Study 3 revealed, moreover, that high PGV enhanced ingroup trust even after an overt betrayal by an ingroup partner. Results were not explained by fluctuations in group identification, highlighting the novel, independent role of PGV in shaping an important aspect of intergroup relations - that is, trust. Implications of PGV for intergroup relations are discussed.


Why Is Benevolent Sexism Appealing? Associations With System Justification and Life Satisfaction

Kathleen Connelly & Martin Heesacker
Psychology of Women Quarterly, December 2012, Pages 432-443

Previous research suggests that benevolent sexism is an ideology that perpetuates gender inequality. But despite its negative consequences, benevolent sexism is a prevalent ideology that some even find attractive. To better understand why women and men alike might be motivated to adopt benevolent sexism, the current study tested system justification theory's prediction that benevolent sexism might have a positive linkage to life satisfaction through increased diffuse system justification, or the sense that the status quo is fair. A structural equation model revealed that benevolent sexism was positively associated with diffuse system justification within a sample of 274 college women and 111 college men. Additionally, benevolent sexism was indirectly associated with life satisfaction for both women and men through diffuse system justification. In contrast, hostile sexism was not related to diffuse system justification or life satisfaction. The results imply that although benevolent sexism perpetuates inequality at the structural level, it might offer some benefits at the personal level. Thus, our findings reinforce the dangerous nature of benevolent sexism and emphasize the need for interventions to reduce its prevalence.


"Treating" Prejudice: An Exposure-Therapy Approach to Reducing Negative Reactions Toward Stigmatized Groups

Michèle Birtel & Richard Crisp
Psychological Science, November 2012, Pages 1379-1386

One of the ways in which therapists treat anxiety disorders is to expose patients to a fear-evoking stimulus within a safe environment before encouraging more positive stimulus-related thoughts. In the study reported here, we adapted these psychotherapeutic principles of exposure therapy to test the hypothesis that imagining a positive encounter with a member of a stigmatized group would be more likely to promote positive perceptions when it was preceded by an imagined negative encounter. The results of three experiments targeting a range of stigmatized groups (adults with schizophrenia, gay men, and British Muslims) supported this hypothesis. Compared with purely positive interventions, interventions in which a single negative encounter was imagined just prior to imagining a positive encounter resulted in significantly reduced prejudice. Furthermore, reduced anxiety uniquely derived from the mixed-valence imagery task statistically explained enhanced intentions to engage positively with the previously stigmatized group in the future.


Explaining dehumanization among children: The interspecies model of prejudice

Kimberly Costello & Gordon Hodson
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Although many theoretical approaches have emerged to explain prejudices expressed by children, none incorporate outgroup dehumanization, a key predictor of prejudice among adults. According to the Interspecies Model of Prejudice, beliefs in the human-animal divide facilitate outgroup prejudice through fostering animalistic dehumanization (Costello & Hodson, 2010). In the present investigation, White children attributed Black children fewer ‘uniquely human' characteristics, representing the first systematic evidence of racial dehumanization among children (Studies 1 and 2). In Study 2, path analyses supported the Interspecies Model of Prejudice: children's human-animal divide beliefs predicted greater racial prejudice, an effect explained by heightened racial dehumanization. Similar patterns emerged among parents. Furthermore, parent Social Dominance Orientation predicted child prejudice indirectly through children's endorsement of a hierarchical human-animal divide and subsequent dehumanizing tendencies. Encouragingly, children's human-animal divide perceptions were malleable to an experimental prime highlighting animal-human similarity. Implications for prejudice interventions are considered.


Boosting One's Social Identity: Effects of Social Exclusion on Ethnocentrism

Tobias Greitemeyer
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, September/October 2012, Pages 410-416

The present research examined the effects of social exclusion on ethnocentrism. It was reasoned that expressions of ethnocentrism boost one's social identity, which can serve as a buffer to the thwarted need to belong. In fact, Study 1 revealed that social exclusion, relative to a neutral control condition, increased participant's expressions of ethnocentrism. A second study replicated this finding and showed that social exclusion experiences also increase ethnocentrism relative to a social acceptance and a negative, non-rejection condition. These findings suggest that the effects of social exclusion on ethnocentrism are specific to the thwarted need to belong.


From the Officer's Perspective: A Multilevel Examination of Citizens' Demeanor during Traffic Stops

Robin Engel et al.
Justice Quarterly, September/October 2012, Pages 650-683

Over the past 60 years, a substantial body of research has considered the influence of citizens' demeanor on police behavior; and more recently, the correlates of citizens' demeanor. This study advances our understanding of the demeanor construct by measuring officers' perceptions of citizens' disrespect, non‐compliance, and resistance during traffic stops. Using multilevel statistical models, we examine the correlates of citizens' demeanor and assess the racial differences in these perceptions. The findings demonstrate that officers' perceptions of citizens' demeanor vary across racial/ethnic groups, after controlling for other relevant factors. Although White officers were significantly more likely than Black officers to classify drivers as disrespectful, Black and White officers were equally likely to report drivers as displaying behaviors that were non‐compliant and/or verbally resistant. Black drivers were significantly more likely to be reported as disrespectful, non‐compliant, and/or resistant, regardless of the officers' race. The implications for future research and policy are discussed.


When Does Anticipating Group-Based Shame Lead to Lower Ingroup Favoritism? The Role of Status and Status Stability

Lee Shepherd, Russell Spears & Antony Manstead
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

In two studies we examined whether and when anticipated group-based shame leads to less ingroup favoritism on the part of members of high-status groups in stable hierarchies. In Study 1 (N = 195) we measured anticipated group-based shame and found that it only negatively predicted ingroup favoritism in stable high-status groups. When anticipated group-based shame was low, members of such groups exhibited the highest levels of ingroup favoritism. However, these groups displayed the lowest levels of ingroup favoritism when shame was high. In Study 2 (N = 159) we manipulated anticipated group-based shame using a bogus-pipeline method. Members of stable high-status groups were less likely to discriminate against a low-status group in the high than in the low anticipated group-based shame condition. This may explain discrepancies in previous research regarding the amount of ingroup favoritism exhibited by (stable) high-status groups: Shame only leads to less discrimination when identity was secure.


"Everybody feels a broken bone, but only we can feel a broken heart": Group membership influences the perception of targets' suffering

Paolo Riva & Luca Andrighetto
European Journal of Social Psychology, December 2012, Pages 801-806

There is surmounting evidence in the literature demonstrating that social pain (e.g. rejection, humiliation, and isolation) and physical pain (e.g. injury or assault) overlap in personal experiences. The present investigation focuses on second-hand perceptions of social and physical pain. We argue that judgments of others' pain may vary as a function of group membership. By integrating research on intergroup bias in pain judgment with intergroup attributions of humanity, we predicted that observers tend to underestimate social pain more than physical pain in out-groups compared with in-groups. Across two studies that considered different scenarios, we found that Italian participants attributed less severe social pain when considering an out-group (Chinese and Ecuadorian) than an in-group member. No such effect was found for physical pain. Overall, the current work suggests an additional way through which people preserve a privileged human status to in-group members while denying out-group members' humanness.


Seeing "us vs. them": Minimal group effects on the neural encoding of faces

Kyle Ratner & David Amodio
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Faces are inherently social, but the extent to which social group information affects early face processing remains unknown. To address this issue, we examined cortical activity associated with structural encoding of novel ingroup vs. outgroup faces. Participants were assigned to one of two arbitrarily-defined groups using the minimal group procedure, and event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while participants categorized faces of people identified as members of their novel ingroup vs. outgroup. Our analysis focused on the N170 component of the ERP, which peaks 170 ms following face onset and reflects face structural encoding. Ingroup faces elicited larger N170 amplitudes than outgroup faces, suggesting that mere group information affects this initial stage of face perception. These findings show that social categories influence how we "see" faces, thus providing insight into the process through which categorizations may lead to biased intergroup perceptions.


Leniency for out-group offenders

Judith Braun & Mario Gollwitzer
European Journal of Social Psychology, December 2012, Pages 883-892

The present research investigates leniency for out-group offenders and differentiates it from the black sheep effect. The authors assume that leniency for out-group offenders can be used by in-group members to protect their group's image by displaying that they are not prejudiced. Thus, leniency should disappear when in-group members have otherwise shown that they are not prejudiced (i.e., moral credentials). In two experiments, offenders' group membership and participants' opportunity to establish moral credentials were manipulated. Results showed that out-group offenders received the lowest punishment severity ratings (Studies 1 and 2). However, this leniency effect vanished when participants had established moral credentials by either endorsing the participation of out-group members in lobby groups (Study 1) or writing about a positive experience with an out-group member (Study 2). These findings suggest that lenient punishments for out-group offenders may sometimes reflect a relatively easy strategy to display the in-group as being unprejudiced.


Arabs as Terrorists: Effects of Stereotypes Within Violent Contexts on Attitudes, Perceptions, and Affect

Muniba Saleem & Craig Anderson
Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Objective: Test the effects of stereotypic video game portrayals with and without violence on attitudes toward the stereotyped group.

Method: Two experiments tested the effects of stereotypic video game portrayals of Arabs in a violent and nonviolent context on implicit and explicit attitudes and perceptions of Arabs.

Results: In both experiments, participants who played an antiterrorist game displayed heightened anti-Arab attitudes relative to participants who played a nonviolent game. In Experiment 1, those who had played a Arab-terrorist game were more likely to draw "typical" Arabs with stereotypic traits, negative affect, and weapons. In Experiment 2, inclusion of Arab characters in a nonviolent game was sufficient to increase anti-Arab attitudes, but the Arabs-as-terrorists game yielded even stronger effects.

Conclusion: These results are important for three reasons. First, results suggest that video game stereotypes can prime negative and aggressive perceptions, attitudes, and affect toward the stereotyped group. Second, this effect appears larger when the stereotyped group is portrayed in a violent-terrorism context than in a nonviolent context. Third, playing a terrorism themed game even without Arab characters led to higher anti-Arab attitudes, suggesting the presence of a strong associative link between terrorism and Arabs in the sampled population.


We'll never get past the glass ceiling! Meta-stereotyping, world-views and perceived relative group-worth

Chuma Owuamalam & Hanna Zagefka
British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

This article examines the implications of perceived negativity from members of a dominant outgroup on the world views and perceived relative group worth of members of disadvantaged groups. We hypothesized that concerns about the negative opinions a dominant outgroup is perceived to hold of the ingroup (i.e., meta-stereotypes) would undermine group members' views about societal fairness. We expected this trend to be mediated by recall of previous personal experiences of discrimination. We further hypothesized that members' views about societal fairness would predict their perception of the ingroup's worth relative to the outgroup - such that undermined views about societal fairness would be associated with lower perceived ingroup worth relative to the outgroup. Taken jointly, results from two studies using two real intergroup contexts support these hypotheses and are discussed in terms of their implications for the social mobility of members of disadvantaged groups.


Punishing the Foreigner: Implicit Discrimination in the Premier League Based on Oppositional Identity

Edoardo Gallo, Thomas Grund & James Reade
Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

We present the first empirical study to reveal the presence of implicit discrimination in a non-experimental setting. By using a large dataset of in-match data in the English Premier League, we show that white referees award significantly more yellow cards against non-white players of oppositional identity. We argue that this is the result of implicit discrimination by showing that this discriminatory behaviour: (i) increases in how rushed the referee is before making a decision, and (ii) it increases in the level of ambiguity of the decision. The variation in (i) and (ii) cannot be explained by any form of conscious discrimination such as taste-based or statistical discrimination. Moreover, we show that oppositional identity players do not differ in their behaviour from other players along several dimensions related to aggressiveness and style of play providing further evidence that this is not statistical discrimination.


Is Ethnicity Identifiable? Lessons from an Experiment in South Africa

Adam Harris & Michael Findley
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Ethnicity is frequently posited as an important factor in civil violence and other political contexts. Despite the attention that ethnicity receives, its effects depend on an important, but mostly ignored, assumption that ethnicity is identifiable within and across groups. There is likely considerable variation in peoples' abilities to identify each other. Certain individuals within groups might be better at identifying others' ethnicities; further, different types of information might aid identification better. We contend that the strength of an individual's ethnic identity influences her ability to identify others correctly. We test this argument using an experiment in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in which individuals attempted to identify members of the major black ethnic groups. We find that the average individual struggles to identify ethnicity correctly in many conditions. Individuals with a stronger identity, however, are often better at correctly identifying the ethnicity of others relative to the average individual. When receiving contradictory information, individuals with stronger identities were sometimes deceived more easily than others. These results have implications for a diverse set of studies relying on the identifiability assumption.


Disentangling the belief in God and cognitive rigidity/flexibility components of religiosity to predict racial and value-violating prejudice: A Post-Critical Belief Scale analysis

Megan Johnson Shen et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, February 2013, Pages 389-395

Past research indicates that being religious is associated with prejudice toward racial and value-violating out-groups. However, this past research treated religiosity as a unidimensional construct without taking into account how different components of religiosity - belief in a higher power and the rigidity/flexibility of religious beliefs - are associated with measures of prejudice. Two studies examined the relationship between these two components of religiosity, as measured by the Post-Critical Beliefs Scale, and racial (African Americans, Arabs) and value-violating prejudices (atheists, gay men). As the flexibility of religious beliefs increased (literal vs. symbolic dimension), attitudes toward racial and value-violating out-groups became more positive (Study 1). As belief in God strengthened (exclusion vs. inclusion of transcendence dimension), attitudes toward value-violating out-groups became more negative. Study 2 demonstrated that these two components of religiosity fully mediated the relationship between general religiosity and prejudice toward African Americans, Arabs, and gay men and partially mediated the relationship between religiosity and prejudice toward atheists. Results are discussed in light of reexamining the conclusion that simply being religious is associated with prejudice.


No face is an island: How implicit bias operates in social scenes

Courtney Soderberg & Jeffrey Sherman
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Social psychologists have mainly studied implicit attitudes toward faces presented one at a time, whereas, in real life, we often encounter people in the presence of others. These surrounding individuals may alter attitudes toward the focal target of attention. We employed a flanker-IAT task and found that, when black and white targets were presented in racially diverse contexts, bias was decreased. This decrease in bias occurred even when targets previously seen in diverse contexts were presented on their own, suggesting context-free evaluations of the targets had been formed. Experiment 2 showed that the effect of diverse contexts does not affect bias toward a racial category as a whole, but only the specific targets previously seen in the diverse contexts. Quad model analysis (Sherman et al., 2008) revealed that these effects were related to changes in automatic evaluations, and not to changes in inhibition. Implications for implicit bias change and prejudice reduction strategies are discussed.


Neural correlates of race-related social evaluations for African Americans and White Americans

Tawanda Greer, Jennifer Vendemia & Melita Stancil
Neuropsychology, November 2012, Pages 704-712

Objective: To examine differences in patterns of brain activation associated with a race-related social evaluative task for a sample of African American and White American adults.

Method: Participants were exposed to images of White American and African American targets embedded in various contexts across three emotional valences: angry/hostile, happy/joyful, and neutral/ambiguous. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure brain activity.

Results: Between-group comparisons revealed that African Americans, as compared to White Americans, exhibited activation in the inferior frontal gyrus and parahippocampal gyrus to images of happy (vs. neutral) same-race targets. White Americans, compared, to African Americans displayed activation in the inferior frontal gyrus and anterior cingulate cortex to images of happy (vs. neutral) same-race targets. Activation in limbic areas was observed for African Americans to neutral (vs. happy) images of White American targets, while no significant pattern of activation was found for White Americans to images of neutral/ambiguous African American targets. A significant correlation was found between scores for previous exposure to race-related incidents and amygdala activation for African Americans to White American targets.

Conclusion: White Americans generally exhibited more activation in regions associated with conflict resolution and cognitive control, while African Americans exhibited activation mostly in areas associated with emotion and memory. Our findings further imply that previous exposure to race-related incidents for African Americans may alter neural responses to White American targets in imaging studies. Implications of the findings are discussed.


Children Trust a Consensus Composed of Outgroup Members - But Do Not Retain That Trust

Eva Chen, Kathleen Corriveau & Paul Harris
Child Development, forthcoming

Children prefer to learn from informants in consensus with one another. However, no research has examined whether this preference exists across cultures, and whether the race of the informants impacts that preference. In 2 studies, one hundred thirty-six 4- to 7-year-old European American and Taiwanese children demonstrated a systematic preference for a consensus. Nevertheless, the initial strength and persistence of that preference depended on the racial composition of the consensus. Children's preference for consensus members belonging to the same race as themselves persisted even when only one consensus member remained to provide information. When the consensus consisted of different-race informants, preference for the consensus was initially apparent but lost when only one member from the consensus remained with the dissenting informant.

to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.