Kevin Lewis

October 19, 2021

The souls of Black folk (and the weight of Black ancestry) in U.S. Black Americans’ racial categorization
Steven Roberts, Carmelle Bareket-Shavit & Michelle Wang
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, July 2021, Pages 1–22

We theorized that from the perspective of U.S. Black Americans, a connection to Black ancestry -- and the historical hardship associated with that ancestry -- plays an important role in racial categorization. We found support for this across six studies. In Studies 1–3, participants categorized targets with Black ancestry and White experiences or targets with White ancestry and Black experiences. U.S. Black Americans’ (more than non-Black Americans’) racial categorizations were influenced by Black ancestry (more than by White ancestry). In Study 4, we replicated this effect under extreme conditions (e.g., even when targets had Black ancestry and were phenotypically, socially, culturally, self-identified, and advantaged as White for eighty years, U.S. Black Americans categorized them as Black). In Study 5, U.S. Black Americans were more likely than U.S. White Americans to associate their racial ancestry with hardship, and individual differences in those associations predicted the extent to which U.S. Black Americans categorized the target with Black ancestry and White experiences as Black. In Study 6, participants categorized a target with Black ancestry and ancestral hardship (i.e., their ancestors were kidnapped from Africa and experienced slavery) or a target with Black ancestry and ancestral success (i.e., their ancestors immigrated from Africa and experienced upward mobility). U.S. Black Americans (unlike U.S. White Americans) were more identified with the target with ancestral hardship. Collectively, our research suggests that from the perspective of U.S. Black Americans, the collective Black experiences of the past continue to shape the Black collective of the present. 

The impact of masculinity stress on preferences and willingness-to-pay for red meat
Rhiannon MacDonnell Mesler, Bret Leary & William Montford
Appetite, forthcoming

This work explores the effects of masculinity stress—distress arising from a perceived discrepancy with male gender norms—on red meat consumption, which has potentially substantial individual, collective, and ecological consequences. Across three studies, we demonstrate a positive indirect effect of masculinity stress on red meat consumption through beliefs that meat consumption can augment masculinity, an effect which is moderated by one's self-assessed traditional masculinity (study 1). We further demonstrate attenuation of the effect of masculinity stress on red meat preference when a red meat product is associated with an out-group (i.e., women; study 2) and show that this effect does not extend to women. In study 3, we show that the effect of masculinity stress on choice of red meat is attenuated following a masculinity affirmation. We finish with a detailed discussion of implications and directions for future research. Taken together, we provide convergent evidence that masculinity stress is associated with red meat preference, and that this preference can be discouraged by leveraging out-group reference information and masculinity affirmation. In so doing, this research provides a series of contributions to the literatures on meat eating and vegetarianism specifically, as well as gender identity maintenance more broadly. 

Effective for Whom? Ethnic Identity and Nonviolent Resistance
Devorah Manekin & Tamar Mitts
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

A growing literature finds that nonviolence is more successful than violence in effecting political change. We suggest that a focus on this association is incomplete, because it obscures the crucial influence of ethnic identity on campaign outcomes. We argue that because of prevalent negative stereotypes associating minority ethnic groups with violence, such groups are perceived as more violent even when resisting nonviolently, increasing support for their repression and ultimately hampering campaign success. We show that, cross-nationally, the effect of nonviolence on outcomes is significantly moderated by ethnicity, with nonviolence increasing success only for dominant groups. We then test our argument using two experiments in the United States and Israel. Study 1 finds that nonviolent resistance by ethnic minorities is perceived as more violent and requiring more policing than identical resistance by majorities. Study 2 replicates and extends the results, leveraging the wave of racial justice protests across the US in June 2020 to find that white participants are perceived as less violent than Black participants when protesting for the same goals. These findings highlight the importance of ethnic identity in shaping campaign perceptions and outcomes, underscoring the obstacles that widespread biases pose to nonviolent mobilization. 

Learning to judge a book by its cover: Rapid acquisition of facial stereotypes
Kao-Wei Chua & Jonathan Freeman
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

People are able to quickly and automatically evaluate faces on different traits, such as trustworthiness. There is a growing literature demonstrating that factors such as learning and experience play a role in shaping these judgments. In the current work, we assess the malleability of our trait evaluations by associating arbitrary facial features with trustworthy or untrustworthy behaviors. Across five studies, we demonstrate that this learning can impact trait evaluation and effectively form novel facial stereotypes, which exert effects on evaluations as strong as intrinsic facial trustworthiness. With only a brief training, participants' rapidly acquired novel facial stereotypes, which were activated automatically and early on in processing, and which biased participants' trust behavior and hiring decisions. These results suggest that our trait evaluations of faces are shaped by an implicit learning mechanism that abstracts the co-occurrence between facial features and trait-related behaviors, resulting in the creation of novel facial stereotypes. 

You Play a Sport, Right? A Persistent and Pernicious Intersectional Bias in Categorization of Students vs. Student-Athletes
Gerald Higginbotham, Jessica Shropshire & Kerri Johnson
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Black male students on college campuses report being frequently misperceived as student-athletes. Across three studies, we tested the role of perceivers’ racial and gendered biases in categorization of Black and White students and student-athletes and the subsequent evaluative consequences. Participants viewed faces of actual Black and White male and female undergraduates who were either non-athlete students or student-athletes and made binary judgments about whether the undergraduate was a student or an athlete. We found an overall bias to judge Black male undergraduates to be student-athletes, driven by Black male students being more likely to be misperceived as student-athletes than White male students. Furthermore, male targets perceived to be student-athletes were rated lower on academic ability (Studies 2 and 3). In contrast, we found an overall bias to judge female undergraduates as students. Implications for how perceiver bias plays a dual role in negatively affecting academic climates for underrepresented groups are discussed. 

Avoidance begets avoidance: A computational account of negative stereotype persistence
Suraiya Allidina & William Cunningham
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Research on stereotype formation has proposed a variety of reasons for how inaccurate stereotypes arise, focusing largely on accounts of motivation and cognitive efficiency. Here, we instead consider how stereotypes arise from basic processes of approach and avoidance in social learning. Across five studies, we show that initial negative interactions with some members of a group can cause subsequent avoidance of the entire group, and that this avoidance perpetuates stereotypes in two ways. First, when information gain is contingent on approaching the target, avoidance restricts the information available with which to update one’s beliefs. Second, computational models that consider the perceiver’s full reinforcement history demonstrate that avoidance directly reinforces itself, such that initial avoidance of group members increases the probability of later acts of avoidance toward that group. Finally, we find initial evidence for a potential dissociation between behavior and explicit beliefs, with avoidance reinforcing avoidant behaviors without necessarily affecting self-reported beliefs. Overall, these results suggest that avoidance behaviors toward members of social groups can perpetuate inaccurate negative beliefs and expectations about those groups, such that initial interactions with a group have a compounding effect on overall impressions.

Lay Beliefs About Who Can Bridge the Black–White Racial Gap During Interracial Exchanges
Leigh Wilton et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

For group discussions about fraught racial topics between Black and White Americans to be beneficial, conversation participants must view the person who facilitates as effective at communicating both the perspectives of Black and White Americans. We identify a biracial advantage in this domain. In three studies (total N = 710), we tested how a facilitator’s race affects their perceived effectiveness in communicating with both Black and White Americans. Both Black and White participants expected Black and White monoracial facilitators to more effectively engage with racial in-group than racial out-group members. However, they expected biracial facilitators to be equally effective in communicating with both Black and White groups. Both Black and White participants also expected biracial facilitators to use productive learning strategies (perspective taking, showing empathy) more than White facilitators, and either more than or equally to Black facilitators, suggesting one reason why people expect biracial facilitators to perform well in these moments. 

Why do women watch esports? A social role perspective on spectating motives and points of attachment
Bo Yu, Natasha Brison & Gregg Bennett
Computers in Human Behavior, forthcoming

Guided by social role theory and the extant literature, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the gender differences in esports spectating motives and points of attachment. A questionnaire was developed to survey fans (N = 479) of the Houston Outlaws, a professional team in the Overwatch League. Findings indicate gender differences across five motivational factors: women seem to be more motivated to watch Overwatch for social opportunities, interest in player, and (player) physical attractiveness; men appear to be more motivated to watch for enjoyment of aggression and entertainment value. Our results also suggest how perceived social roles may influence gender differences in attachment to the athlete and its relationship with spectating motives. Theoretical, managerial, and social implications, as well as future research recommendations, are discussed.


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