What they are

Kevin Lewis

November 15, 2018

The accumulation of stereotype-based self-fulfilling prophecies
Stephanie Madon et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, November 2018, Pages 825-844


A recurring theme in the psychological literature is that the self-fulfilling effect of stereotypes can accumulate across perceivers. This article provides the first empirical support for this long-standing hypothesis. In three experiments (Ns = 123–241), targets more strongly confirmed a stereotype as the number of perceivers who held stereotypic expectations about them increased. A fourth experiment (N = 121) showed that new perceivers judged targets according to the stereotypic behaviors they had previously been channeled to adopt, an effect that even occurred among perceivers who were privy to the fact that targets’ behavior had been shaped by the actions of others. The authors discuss ways in which these effects may contribute to group inequalities.

Whose Side Are You On? Asian Americans’ Mistrust of Asian–White Biracials Predicts More Exclusion From the Ingroup
Jacqueline Chen, Nour Kteily & Arnold Ho
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming


We investigated Asian Americans’ perceptions of Asian–White biracials. Because the Asian/White boundary may be more permeable than other minority/White boundaries, we reasoned that Asian Americans are more likely than Black Americans to be skeptical of biracials, perceiving that biracials would prefer to identify as White and would be disloyal to Asians, consequently categorizing them as more outgroup. We further reasoned that Asian Americans’ concerns about and exclusion of biracials would be predicted by greater perceived discrimination against Asian Americans, which increases the incentive for biracials to pass into the higher status racial group. Studies 1 and 2 provided correlational support for these theorized relationships among Asian Americans. Study 2 showed that perceived discrimination did not increase Black Americans’ concerns about biracials’ identity preferences and loyalty. Studies 3 and 4 provided causal evidence for the roles of perceived discrimination and biracial identity preferences, respectively, in Asian Americans’ exclusion of biracials.

Rental Housing Discrimination Across Protected Classes: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment
Judson Murchie & Jindong Pang
Regional Science and Urban Economics, November 2018, Pages 170-179


This paper provides the first evidence of how landlord treatment of rental housing applicants varies across race, gender, religion, sexuality, and family status. We adopt a randomized correspondence audit design by sending inquiry emails to randomly selected property owners or agents from Craigslist. The signals are conveyed by names, body text, and signature-line quotations. The findings suggest landlords have preferences about tenants and make decisions based on signals communicated in inquiry emails from potential applicants. Blacks, Arab males, Muslims, and single parents are treated unfavorably while gay couples are preferred. These discrimination patterns are generally consistent with the theory of agent-based statistical discrimination. The results provide evidence that many groups protected under U.S. fair housing law continue to face obstacles when searching for housing despite decades of fair housing law.

Can the Government Deter Discrimination? Evidence from a Randomized Intervention in New York City
Albert Fang, Andrew Guess & Macartan Humphreys
Journal of Politics, forthcoming


Racial discrimination persists despite established antidiscrimination laws. A common government strategy to deter discrimination is to publicize the law and communicate potential penalties for violations. We study this strategy by coupling an audit experiment with a randomized intervention involving nearly 700 landlords in New York City and report the first causal estimates of the effect on rental discrimination against blacks and Hispanics of a targeted government messaging campaign. We uncover discrimination levels higher than prior estimates indicate, especially against Hispanics, who are approximately 6 percentage points less likely to receive callbacks and offers than whites. We find suggestive evidence that government messaging can reduce discrimination against Hispanics but not against blacks. The findings confirm discrimination’s persistence and suggest that government messaging can address it in some settings, but more work is needed to understand the conditions under which such appeals are most effective.

Cass Sunstein
Harvard Working Paper, August 2017


Significant social change often comes from the unleashing of hidden preferences; it also comes from the construction of novel preferences. Under the pressure of social norms, people sometimes falsify their preferences. They do not feel free to say or do as they wish. Once norms are weakened or revised, through private efforts or law, it becomes possible to discover preexisting preferences. Because those preferences existed but were concealed, large-scale movements are both possible and exceedingly difficult to predict; they are often startling. But revisions of norms can also construct rather than uncover preferences. Once norms are altered, again through private efforts or law, people come to hold preferences that they did not hold before. Nothing has been unleashed. These points bear on the rise and fall (and rise again, and fall again) of discrimination on the basis of sex and race (and also religion and ethnicity). They also help illuminate the dynamics of social cascades and the effects of social norms on diverse practices and developments, including smoking, drinking, police brutality, protest activity, veganism, drug use, crime, white nationalism, “ethnification,” considerateness, and the public expression of religious beliefs.

Playing well with others: The role of opponent and intergroup anxiety in the reduction of prejudice through collaborative video game play
Chris Stiff & Paula Kedra
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming


Recent work on the social effects of video gaming has moved away from the view they are detrimental, and has instead demonstrated how they may be a force for good. One example is how collaborative intergroup play can reduce prejudice between groups. However, this literature is at a nascent stage, and many of the intricacies of such a mechanism are unknown. Previous work has predominantly used attitude scales and ignored other measures. Factors such as the role of the opponent in games and what may be the mechanism behind any effects have likewise received little attention. In this laboratory study, participants played collaborative games with an outgroup member or alone. Their opponent was also reported to be computer controlled or controlled by another person. Following play, intergroup anxiety was reported, and participants wrote a short passage of prose regarding the outgroup and rated on attitude scales. Analysis demonstrated that playing with outgroup members was indeed an effective method of increasing the positivity toward outgroup members, reflected in both scale and prose measures. Anxiety was also found to be a significant mediator; however, it was less clear whether a human opponent moderated any effects. Further ideas of how these findings could be developed are then discussed.

Groups at a glance: Perceivers infer social belonging in a group based on perceptual summaries of sex ratio
Brianna Goodale et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, November 2018, Pages 1660-1676


Human observers extract perceptual summaries for sets of items after brief visual exposure, accurately judging the average size of geometric shapes (Ariely, 2001), walking direction of a crowd (Sweeny, Haroz, & Whitney, 2013), and the eye gaze of groups of faces (Sweeny & Whitney, 2014). In addition to such actuarial summaries, we hypothesize that observers also extract social information about groups that may influence downstream judgments and behavior. In four studies, we first show that humans quickly and accurately perceive the sex ratio of a group after only 500 ms of visual exposure. We then test whether these percepts bias judgments about the group’s social attitudes and affect the perceiver’s sense of belonging. As the ratio of men to women increased, both male and female perceivers judged the group to harbor more sexist norms, and judgments of belonging changed concomitantly, albeit in opposite directions for men and women. Thus, observers judge a group’s sex ratio from a mere glimpse and use it to infer social attitudes and interpersonal affordances. We discuss the implication of these findings for a heretofore overlooked hurtle facing women in male-dominated fields (e.g., science, technology, engineering, or mathematics): how the ratio of men to women provides an early visible cue that signals an individual’s potential fit.

Racialized images: Tracing appraisals of police force and protest
Mora Reinka & Colin Wayne Leach
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, November 2018, Pages 763-787


As race acts as a social frame of reference, it should guide individual’s appraisal of visual representations of social events and issues. Thus, grounded in Scherer’s (2009) model of appraisal as a sequential process, in 2 experiments (N = 133, 166) we used early event-related potentials (ERPs) of brain activity (the N100, P200, P300) to examine Black and White participants’ appraisals of the novelty of images of police force against Black (and White) targets, as well as of Black-led protest. We used a later ERP (the late positive potential, LPP) as well as blood pressure to assess their appraisal of motivational relevance, and self-reported affect and emotion to assess conscious experience. White participants’ early ERPs suggested that they appraised the images as more novel than did Black participants. Nevertheless, Black participants’ later (LPP) ERP, and blood pressure, suggested that they appraised the images as more motivationally relevant. Consistent with this, Black participants expressed more attentiveness, anger, and empowerment at the images, whereas White participants expressed more surprise. A mediation model in Experiment 2 showed that self-reported familiarity with past racial violence, as well as surprise and attentiveness to the images, explained the difference between Black and White participants’ appraisals of motivational relevance (i.e., the LPP). We discuss implications for appraisal theory, stress and coping, and societally situated cognition and affect.

Ethnic diversity matters: Putting implicit associations between weapons and ethnicity in context
Melody Sadler & Thierry Devos
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming


Weapons are implicitly associated with Black Americans. We examined the extent to which this implicit stereotype fluctuates as a function of the ethnic diversity of contexts. Across 351 U.S. metropolitan areas, we tested whether three distinct indicators of ethnic diversity predicted implicit associations between the concept of “weapons” (vs. “harmless objects”) and Black Americans vs. White Americans. As predicted, implicit Black–weapon stereotypes were weaker in areas characterized by the presence of multiple ethnic groups (variety) and greater dispersion of ethnic groups at the neighborhood level (integration). Additionally, the negative association between integration and implicit stereotypes was strongest when minority representation was low compared to high. Considering multiple dimensions of ethnic diversity proved useful to document reliable relations between implicit associations and characteristics of local contexts.

Gender, Race, and Aggression in Mainstream Pornography
Eran Shor & Golshan Golriz
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming


The role of aggression in pornographic videos has been at the heart of many theoretical debates and empirical studies over the last four decades, with rates of reported aggression ranging widely. However, the interaction between gender and race in the production of aggressive pornographic contents remains understudied and undertheorized. We conducted a study of 172 popular free Internet pornographic videos, exploring gender and racial interactions and the depictions of men and women from various ethnic and racial groups in online pornography. Contrary to our theoretical expectations and to the findings of previous research, we found that videos featuring Black women were less likely to depict aggression than those featuring White women, while videos featuring Asian and Latina women were more likely to depict aggression. Our findings call for a reconceptualization of the role of race and ethnicity in pornography.

Perceived morality determines the acceptability of stereotypic feminine emotional displays in men
Jonathan Gallegos, Theresa Vescio & Stephanie Shields
Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming


We hypothesized that men may, without costs to perceived masculinity, exhibit stereotypically feminine displays of emotion — cry or express anxiety — when those emotional displays imply men’s morally praiseworthy intentions, feelings, or behavior. To test this hypothesis, across three experiments we created conditions in which we varied men’s crying response (Experiments 1 and 2), or anxious response (Experiment 3), and men’s perceived moral praiseworthiness — through men’s expression of moral or nonmoral anger. Findings indicated that crying or expressing anxiety as a result of moral (vs. nonmoral) anger reduced the negative effects that stereotypically feminine displays of emotion have on an actor’s perceived masculinity and competence. Compared with those expressing nonmoral anger, men who cried from moral anger were also seen as warmer and more communal. We discuss the implications of these findings for the study of men and masculinity.

Males tend to die, females tend to pass away
Richard Ferraro
Death Studies, forthcoming


The hypothesis that obituary notices will be less direct/less emotional in the language used for females than for males was tested. A total of 703 consecutive obituaries were examined in a local newspaper and instances of whether the person died or passed away was noted for males and females. A 2 (gender) × 2 (died, passed away) Chi-Square analysis supported the hypothesis: X2 (1) = 8.87, p < .01. Thus, males are more likely to die, whereas females are more likely to pass away.

Confronting stereotypic biases: Does internal versus external motivational framing matter?
Mason Burns & Margo Monteith
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming


We investigated whether confrontations of intergroup bias that had an external (e.g., emphasizing social norms) versus internal (e.g., emphasizing values) motivational framing differentially reduced subsequent stereotyping. Internally and externally framed confrontations reduced stereotyping equally compared to a control condition, both immediately (Experiments 1 and 2) and across a 2- to 3-day delay (Experiment 1). Only weak evidence was found for a “matching hypothesis” when participants own chronic internal and external motivations to respond without prejudice were assessed. Confrontation framing did not interact with chronic motivations to affect stereotyping in Experiment 2. In Experiment 3, participants highly internally motivated to respond without bias reduced bias most with an internally framed confrontation, whereas participants who were not motivated for internal reasons reduced bias most with an externally framed confrontation. Finally, whereas both motivational framings reduced stereotyping, simply pointing bias out did not. Thus, providing some motivational framing is important for confrontation effectiveness.


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