What I see in you

Kevin Lewis

July 20, 2017

Competition over collective victimhood recognition: When perceived lack of recognition for past victimization is associated with negative attitudes towards another victimized group
Laura De Guissmé & Laurent Licata
European Journal of Social Psychology, March 2017, Pages 148–166

Groups that perceive themselves as victims can engage in “competitive victimhood.” We propose that, in some societal circumstances, this competition bears on the recognition of past sufferings — rather than on their relative severity — fostering negative intergroup attitudes. Three studies are presented. Study 1, a survey among Sub-Saharan African immigrants in Belgium (N = 127), showed that a sense of collective victimhood was associated with more secondary anti-Semitism. This effect was mediated by a sense of lack of victimhood recognition, then by the belief that this lack of recognition was due to that of Jews' victimhood, but not by competition over the severity of the sufferings. Study 2 replicated this mediation model among Muslim immigrants (N = 125). Study 3 experimentally demonstrated the negative effect of the unequal recognition of groups' victimhood on intergroup attitudes in a fictional situation involving psychology students (N = 183). Overall, these studies provide evidence that struggle for victimhood recognition can foster intergroup conflict.

Spatial Cues Influence the Visual Perception of Gender
Sarah Lamer, Max Weisbuch & Timothy Sweeny
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Spatial localization is a basic process in vision, occurring reliably when people encounter an object or person. Yet the role of spatial-location in the visual perception of people is poorly understood. We explored the extent to which spatial-location distorts the perception of gender. Consistent with evidence that the perception of objects is constrained by their location in visual scenes, enhancing perception for objects in their typical location (e.g., Biederman et al., 1982), we hypothesized that people would see relatively greater femininity in faces that appeared lower in space. On each of many trials, participants briefly viewed a pair of faces that varied in gender-ambiguity. One face appeared higher than the other, and participants identified the 1 that looked more like a woman’s face (Study 1) or indicated whether the 2 faces were the same (Study 2). Across 2 experiments, participants perceived greater femininity in faces seen lower (vs. higher) in space. These effects seem to be perceptual — changes to spatial location were sufficient for altering whether 2 faces looked identical or different. Thus, spatial-location modulates visual percepts of gender, providing a biased foundation for downstream processes involved in gender biases, sexual attraction, and sex-roles.

Discrimination among pre-school children: Field experimental evidence
Annika List, John List & Anya Samek
Economics Letters, August 2017, Pages 159–162

Social scientists for years have documented the pervasiveness of discrimination in product and labor markets. While the literature has recently attempted to measure the nature of such discrimination, much less work has been done exploring the origins of discrimination. We make a modest step in this direction by reporting data from a field experiment attempting to measure discrimination amongst 3–5 year olds. Using a design that isolates discriminatory behaviors in economic games, we find that both White and Hispanic children send more resources to Black children than White children, whereas black children send equal amounts. This provides a first glimpse that suggests preferences amongst the young do not show similar patterns as preferences of adults.

Treating Objects like Women: The Impact of Terror Management and Objectification on the Perception of Women’s Faces
Christina Roylance, Clay Routledge & Benjamin Balas
Sex Roles, forthcoming

There is a modern trend whereby women’s beauty and attractiveness tends towards the artificial, which appears to be an extreme manifestation of objectification culture. Research suggests that sexual objectification has the ability to alter the way we perceive women. Objectification occurs, in part, because women’s bodies pose a unique existential threat, and objectifying women is believed to mitigate concerns about mortality because it transforms women into something inanimate and thus less mortal. We therefore hypothesized that priming death concerns should impact object-person recognition of women. In the present study we recruited 177 undergraduate students from a U.S. Midwestern university to participate in exchange for course credit. We utilized face-morphing techniques to create a series of images representing a continuum of artificial-to-real faces, and after being exposed to a death reminder (as opposed to a pain reminder comparison condition), we asked participants to rate the extent to which the image appeared artificial. Results suggested that death awareness biases people towards reporting artificial female (but not male) faces as real. Existential concerns about death have an impact on perceptual assessments of women, specifically women who have been turned into literal objects. Future research directions, limitations of the current study, and implications for improving women’s health and well-being with this added knowledge about objectification are discussed.

Tableside Justice: Racial Differences in Retributive Reactions to Dissatisfaction
Zachary Brewster & Jonathan Brauer
Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, July 2017, Pages 383-397

Existing evidence indicates that racial discrimination is a common, if not pervasive, feature of Black Americans’ experiences in U.S. consumer markets. However, few studies have quantitatively explored specific social psychological and interactional consequences of consumer racial discrimination. In response, we draw from literatures on experiences, attributions, and reactions to racial discrimination to posit and test for Black-White differences in consumers’ behavioral responses to dissatisfactory dining experiences. Specifically, past research shows that Black Americans’ dissatisfactory experiences in consumer markets are more often perceived to be the result of consumer racial discrimination. Given their increased exposure to racial discrimination in consumer markets and the United States more broadly, we posit that Black customers will react more punitively to dissatisfactory restaurant experiences than White customers. We test this notion using a within-subject experimental design and regression analyses of survey data collected from a consumer panel of White and Black U.S. adults (n = 307). Results indicate that Black respondents in this sample are more likely than White respondents to penalize their server’s tips and lodge a complaint when dissatisfied with restaurant food and/or service. These findings are consistent with the prediction that Black American consumers tend to react more punitively on average to dissatisfactory consumer experiences than Whites and are consistent with prior scholarship linking coercive and unjust experiences to retributive behaviors. We conclude by discussing implications of these results and the need for further research on racial discrimination in U.S. restaurants and related consumer markets.

Effects of Exposure to Alcohol-related Cues on Racial Discrimination
Elena Stepanova et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Prior research has shown that exposure to alcohol-related images exacerbates expression of implicit racial biases, and that brief exposure to alcohol-related words increases aggressive responses. However, the potential for alcohol cue exposure to elicit differential aggression against a Black (outgroup) relative to a White (ingroup) target — that is, racial discrimination — has never been investigated. Here, we found that White participants (N = 92) exposed to alcohol-related words made harsher judgments of a Black experimenter who had frustrated them than participants who were exposed to nonalcohol words. These findings suggest that exposure to alcohol cues increases discriminatory behaviors toward Blacks.

Sexualization in U.S. Latina and White Girls’ Preferred Children’s Television Programs
Elizabeth McDade-Montez, Jan Wallander & Linda Cameron
Sex Roles, July 2017, Pages 1–15

Sexualization is associated with negative mental and physical health consequences for girls. Media exposure, particularly television (TV), is a pervasive source of sexualizing messages yet little work has quantified sexualization in children’s media, particularly in media popular with minority youth. The current research examines the prevalence of sexualization in children’s TV programs popular among U.S. Latina and White girls aged 6 to 11 through a quantitative content analysis of 32 episodes from the ten most popular children’s TV series. Results indicated that sexualization was present in every coded episode, with at least three instances present per episode, and a combined total of 770 instances across all episodes. Female characters were more commonly portrayed in a sexualized manner than were male characters and were sexualized in 72 % of instances. Characters of color were generally sexualized at the same rate as White characters. Although sexualized clothing was the most common form of sexualization in the children’s programs, a broad range of sexualizing content was present. Instances of sexualization included sexualizing comments, body exposure, self-sexualizing physical behaviors and activities, sexualizing physical behaviors toward others, verbal and physical objectification, and body/appearance modification. These findings suggest that sexualization is present in children’s media popular among both Latina and White girls and that identifying means to counter this influence should be a priority.

Emotion regulation and prejudice reduction following acute terrorist events: The impact of reflection before and after the Boston Marathon bombings
Rachel Steele et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Research suggests that regulating negative emotional responses to threatening events can help reduce outgroup bias. The present research examined the effect of emotion regulation strategies on outgroup bias during relatively benign versus threatening time periods. Participants were assigned to regulate their emotions (reflection, rumination, or control) while reading a reminder of a past terrorist event and then reported their anger and bias toward Muslims. The bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon occurred during data collection, which allowed us to examine the effect of emotion regulation on bias before versus after these events via a 3 (emotion regulation) x 2 (timing of bombings) between-subjects design. A two-way interaction between emotion regulation condition and timing emerged on bias and anger. Reflection (compared to rumination or control) reduced bias and anger toward Muslims but only after the bombings. The reduction in anger mediated the effect of reflection on bias only after the bombings. The results provide evidence that reflection is effective at reducing bias when people are experiencing an intense outgroup threat.

“You’re One of Us”: Black Americans’ Use of Hypodescent and Its Association With Egalitarianism
Arnold Ho, Nour Kteily & Jacqueline Chen
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Research on multiracial categorization has focused on majority group social perceivers (i.e., White Americans), demonstrating that they (a) typically categorize Black–White multiracials according to a rule of hypodescent, associating them more with their lower status parent group than their higher status parent group, and (b) do so at least in part to preserve the hierarchical status quo. The current work examines whether members of an ethnic minority group, Black Americans, also associate Black–White multiracials more with their minority versus majority parent group and if so, why. The first 2 studies (1A and 1B) directly compared Black and White Americans, and found that although both Blacks and Whites categorized Black–White multiracials as more Black than White, Whites’ use of hypodescent was associated with intergroup antiegalitarianism, whereas Blacks’ use of hypodescent was associated with intergroup egalitarianism. Studies 2–3 reveal that egalitarian Blacks use hypodescent in part because they perceive that Black–White biracials face discrimination and consequently feel a sense of linked fate with them. This research establishes that the use of hypodescent extends to minority as well as majority perceivers but also shows that the beliefs associated with the use of hypodescent differ as a function of perceiver social status. In doing so, we broaden the social scientific understanding of hypodescent, showing how it can be an inclusionary rather than exclusionary phenomenon.

Black Groups Accentuate Hypodescent by Activating Threats to the Racial Hierarchy
Erin Cooley et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

One reason White people categorize Black–White Biracial people as Black (called hypodescent) is to maintain the existing racial hierarchy. By creating a strict definition of who can be White, the selectivity, and thus status, of White people increases. Given that racial hierarchies are about the relative status of groups, we test whether perceiving Black groups increases hypodescent by activating fears about shifts in the racial hierarchy (i.e., a majority/minority shift). Indeed, White people rated (Study 1) and stereotyped (Study 4) Black–White Biracial people as more Black in Black groups (but not White groups; Study 2) than when alone. Critically, this pattern was driven by White people relatively high in fear of a majority/minority shift (Study 3a) or those experimentally led to feel this threat (Study 3b). We conclude that Black groups increase hypodescent by activating fears about shifts in the racial hierarchy, posing consequences for racial stereotyping.

Black and White Lies: Race-Based Biases in Deception Judgments
Paige Lloyd et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

In six studies (N = 605), participants made deception judgments about videos of Black and White targets who told truths and lies about interpersonal relationships. In Studies 1a, 1b, 1c, and 2, White participants judged that Black targets were telling the truth more often than they judged that White targets were telling the truth. This truth bias was predicted by Whites’ motivation to respond without prejudice. For Black participants, however, motives to respond without prejudice did not moderate responses (Study 2). In Study 3, we found similar effects with a manipulation of the targets’ apparent race. Finally, in Study 4, we used eye-tracking techniques to demonstrate that Whites’ truth bias for Black targets is likely the result of late-stage correction processes: Despite ultimately judging that Black targets were telling the truth more often than White targets, Whites were faster to fixate on the on-screen “lie” response box when targets were Black than when targets were White. These systematic race-based biases have important theoretical implications (e.g., for lie detection and improving intergroup communication and relations) and practical implications (e.g., for reducing racial bias in law enforcement).

Constructing Bias: Conceptualization Breaks the Link Between Implicit Bias and Fear of Black Americans
Kent Lee, Kristen Lindquist & Keith Payne
Emotion, forthcoming

Negative affect toward outgroup members has long been known to predict discriminatory behavior. However, psychological constructionist theories of emotion suggest that negative affect may not always reflect antipathy for outgroup members. Rather, the subjective experience depends on how negative affect is conceptualized as specific discrete emotions (e.g., fear vs. sympathy). Our current research integrates theories of implicit bias with psychological constructionist theories of emotion to understand the implications of negative affect toward outgroup members. Across 3 studies, we find evidence that conceptualization of negative affect toward Black Americans as sympathy, rather than fear, mitigates the relationship between negative affect and fear of Black Americans on self-report and perceptual measures, and reduces racial bias on a psychophysiological measure. These studies provide evidence that conceptualization of negative affect can shape reactions to outgroup members. We discuss the implications of these findings and ground them in theories of implicit bias, social cognition, and affective science.

Will We Be Harmed, Will It Be Severe, Can We Protect Ourselves? Threat Appraisals Predict Collective Angst (and Its Consequences)
Nassim Tabri, Michael Wohl & Julie Caouette
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Across four studies, we applied the cognitive model of anxiety (Clark & Beck, 2010) to explicate the appraisals that elicit collective angst (i.e., concern for the ingroup's future vitality). In Study 1a, consistent with the model, Québécois experienced collective angst when they appraised a threat 1) as likely to harm their group, 2) as severely harming their group, and 3) appraised Québécois as not having efficacy to protect their group. In Study 1b, results were replicated in the context of the realistic threat that Islamic extremists pose to Christian-Lebanese. In Studies 2a and 2b, we manipulated the three appraisals and found a similar pattern of results in the context of a potential terrorist attack on American soil by Islamic extremists. Importantly, collective angst mediated the threat appraisal effect on (non-Muslim) Americans' prejudice towards Muslims. The utility of the appraisal model for regulating collective angst (and thus its consequences) are discussed.

Essentialism Promotes Racial Prejudice by Increasing Endorsement of Social Hierarchies
Tara Mandalaywala, David Amodio & Marjorie Rhodes
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Why do essentialist beliefs promote prejudice? We proposed that essentialist beliefs increase prejudice toward Black people because they imply that existing social hierarchies reflect a naturally occurring structure. We tested this hypothesis in three studies (N = 621). Study 1 revealed that racial essentialism was associated with increased prejudice toward Blacks among both White and Black adult participants, suggesting that essentialism relates to prejudice according to social hierarchy rather than only to group membership. Studies 2 and 3 experimentally demonstrated that increasing essentialist beliefs induced stronger endorsement of social hierarchies in both Black and White participants, which in turn mediated the effect of essentialism on negative attitudes toward Black people. Together, these findings suggest that essentialism increases prejudice toward low-status groups by increasing endorsement of social hierarchies and existing inequality.

Intersecting race and gender stereotypes: Implications for group-level attitudes
Curtis Phills et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Two studies examined the relationship between explicit stereotyping and prejudice by investigating how stereotyping of minority men and women may be differentially related to prejudice. Based on research and theory related to the intersectional invisibility hypothesis (Purdie-Vaughns & Eibach, 2008), we hypothesized that stereotyping of minority men would be more strongly related to prejudice than stereotyping of minority women. Supporting our hypothesis, in both the United Kingdom (Study 1) and the United States (Study 2), when stereotyping of Black men and women were entered into the same regression model, only stereotyping of Black men predicted prejudice. Results were inconsistent in regard to South Asians and East Asians. Results are discussed in terms of the intersectional invisibility hypothesis (Purdie-Vaughns & Eibach, 2008) and the gendered nature of the relationship between stereotyping and attitudes.

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