Kevin Lewis

June 08, 2023

Seeing racial avoidance on New York City streets
Bryce Dietrich & Melissa Sands
Nature Human Behaviour, forthcoming


Here, using publicly available traffic camera feeds in combination with a real-world field experiment, we examine how pedestrians of different races behave in the presence of racial out-group members. Across two different New York City neighbourhoods and 3,552 pedestrians, we generate an unobtrusive, large-scale measure of inter-group racial avoidance by measuring the distance individuals maintain between themselves and other racial groups. We find that, on average, pedestrians in our sample (93% of whom were phenotypically non-Black) give a wider berth to Black confederates, as compared with white non-Hispanic confederates.

Increased Fox News Viewership Is Not Associated with Heightened Anti-Black Prejudice
Daniel Hopkins, Yphtach Lelkes & Samuel Wolken
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, April 2023 


Today's media environment provides Americans with unparalleled choice in how or whether to watch political TV news. Prior studies have focused on the impacts of the growing range of ideological slants on vote choice. But the fragmentation of the media landscape may also increase variation in the coverage of race-related topics. With a large audience and programs that even some employees thought conveyed racism, Fox News provides a valuable case study. We use a population-based panel 2008--2020 to measure the associations between changes in self-reported Fox News viewership and race-related attitudes and thus bound Fox News' likely effects assuming positive selection. Difference-in-difference models demonstrate that increased Fox News watching is not strongly associated with increases in Whites' anti-Black prejudice or opposition to government assistance targeting Black Americans. However, those whose Fox News watching increased grew increasingly anti-immigration. These results indicate the limits of Fox News' impacts on racial prejudice.

Millennials Versus Boomers: An Asymmetric Pattern of Realistic and Symbolic Threats Drives Intergenerational Tensions in the United States
Stéphane Francioli, Felix Danbold & Michael North
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming


Intergenerational conflict appears frequently in American public discourse, often framed as clashes between Millennials and Baby Boomers. Building on intergroup threat theory in an exploratory survey, a preregistered correlational study, and a preregistered intervention (N = 1,714), we find that (a) Millennials and Baby Boomers do express more animosity toward each other than toward other generations (Studies 1–3); (b) their animosity reflects asymmetric generational concerns: Baby Boomers primarily fear that Millennials threaten traditional American values (symbolic threat) while Millennials primarily fear that Baby Boomers’s delayed transmission of power hampers their life prospects (realistic threat; Studies 2–3); (c) finally, an intervention challenging the entitativity of generational categories alleviates perceived threats and hostility for both generations (Study 3). These findings inform research on intergroup threat, provide a theoretically grounded framework to understand intergenerational relations, and put forward a strategy to increase harmony in aging societies.

Pink tasks: Feminists and their preferences for premium beauty products
Mycah Harrold, Chadwick Miller & Andrew Perkins
Psychology & Marketing, forthcoming 


Consumers of different genders often have different consumption habits, especially pertaining to routine, daily practices. Anecdotal evidence, as well as scholarly research, suggests that feminists may experience conflicting pressures surrounding consumption associated with a feminine identity -- such as applying make-up, shaving one's legs, keeping fingernails manicured, and styling one's hair. We investigate how consumption experiences surrounding beauty work differ for feminists and nonfeminists. Employing a variety of methods -- including online experiments (Studies 1 and 4), secondary data (Study 2), and a behavioral study (Study 3) -- we demonstrate that feminists report higher preferences for premium beauty products than nonfeminists. Feminists’ preferences stem from associating beauty work with feelings of empowerment or, more specifically, self-determination. We discuss implications for our work and conclude with a call for additional research examining how consumers experience consumption dictated by social standards and expectations rather than individual choice.

People believe sexual harassment and domestic violence are less harmful for women in poverty
Nathan Cheek, Bryn Bandt-Law & Stacey Sinclair
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming


Despite experiencing gender-based violence more frequently and more severely, victims of sexual harassment and domestic abuse from lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds are disproportionately neglected and mistreated. Across four studies (total N = 3052), we show that people incorrectly believe that harassment and abuse are less harmful for women in poverty than for women in affluence. This thick skin bias then leads people to neglect lower-SES victims because they think they are less harmed by gender-based violence: participants thought that lower-SES victims needed less help from bystanders and less interpersonal support from friends and family. The neglect low-SES victims of gender-based violence often encounter may thus arise at least in part from biased beliefs about their lower vulnerability to harm, suggesting that future interventions to reduce class-based disparities in harassment and abuse outcomes may benefit from targeting stereotypes about the “thick-skinned poor.”

Taking Stock of the Evidence for the Gender-Equality Paradox in Gendered Names: A Reply to Berggren (2023) with New Data
Allon Vishkin
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming 


A phonetic feature called voicing has been shown to reflect the gendering of names. Vishkin et al. leveraged this insight to examine gender differentiation as a function of increasing gender equality, both across historical time and across the 50 United States. In this reply, I address a wide range of criticisms raised by Berggren on these findings. I begin by presenting novel data from 76+ million baby names in France from 1900 to 2021. Findings converge with Berggren’s conclusion that the historical trend of voicing of female names is nonlinear and therefore cannot be fully accounted for by the monotonic increase of gender equality. However, I show the state-level analysis is robust to his critiques. I conclude that there are more gendered names in more gender-equal societies at the state level, even though the historical data does not shed light on the historical development of this phenomenon.

Particularly in Highly Developed and More Gender Egalitarian Societies: Sex Differences in Attitudes Towards Homosexuality
Achim Hildebrandt & Sebastian Jäckle
Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming 


Time and again, research has shown that men are less accepting of homosexuality than women. Studies on such attitudinal sex differences have been overwhelmingly conducted in Western democracies, however, with a special focus on the U.S. Whether the sex difference in attitudes towards homosexuality is a worldwide phenomenon has not yet been investigated. Using data from the seventh wave of the World Values Survey (2017–2021), this article provides evidence that the sex difference is not universal, but limited almost exclusively to Europe and the Americas, indicating the need to replicate studies conducted in these societies in global cross-country comparisons. Contrary to predictions of the social role theory or biosocial construction theory, but in line with predictions from evolutionary psychology and a growing number of empirical studies in this field, the sex difference in attitudes towards homosexuality widens with rising gender equality and development, especially when the two coincide.

The Silenced Text: Field Experiments on Gendered Experiences of Political Participation
Alan Yan & Rachel Bernhard
American Political Science Review, forthcoming 


Who gets to “speak up” in politics? Whose voices are silenced? We conducted two field experiments to understand how harassment shapes the everyday experiences of politics for men and women in the United States today. We randomized the names campaign volunteers used to text supporters reminders to participate in a protest and call their representatives. We find that female-named volunteers receive more offensive, silencing, and withdrawal responses than male-named or ambiguously named volunteers. However, supporters were also more likely to respond and agree to their asks. These findings help make sense of prior research that finds women are less likely than men to participate in politics, and raise new questions about whether individual women may be perceived as symbolic representatives of women as a group. We conclude by discussing the implications for gender equality and political activism.

Conditional bribery: Insights from incentivized experiments across 18 nations
Angela Rachael Dorrough et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2 May 2023 


Bribery, a grand global challenge, often occurs across national jurisdictions. Behavioral research studying bribery to inform anticorruption interventions, however, has merely examined bribery within single nations. Here, we report online experiments and provide insights into crossnational bribery. We ran a pilot study (across three nations) and a large, incentivized experiment using a bribery game played across 18 nations (N = 5,582, total number of incentivized decisions = 346,084). The results show that people offer disproportionally more bribes to interaction partners from nations with a high (vs. low) reputation for foreign bribery, measured by macrolevel indicators of corruption perceptions. People widely share nation-specific expectations about a nation’s bribery acceptance levels. However, these nation-specific expectations negatively correlate with actual bribe acceptance levels, suggesting shared yet inaccurate stereotypes about bribery tendencies. Moreover, the interaction partner’s national background (more than one’s own national background) drives people’s decision to offer or accept a bribe -- a finding we label conditional bribery.

Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them: The Ambivalent Effects of Existential Outgroup Threat on Helping Behavior
Johannes Berendt, Esther van Leeuwen & Sebastian Uhrich
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming 


Social comparison theories suggest that ingroups are strengthened whenever important outgroups are weakened (e.g., by losing status or power). It follows that ingroups have little reason to help outgroups facing an existential threat. We challenge this notion by showing that ingroups can also be weakened when relevant comparison outgroups are weakened, which can motivate ingroups to strategically offer help to ensure the outgroups’ survival as a highly relevant comparison target. In three preregistered studies, we showed that an existential threat to an outgroup with high (vs. low) identity relevance affected strategic outgroup helping via two opposing mechanisms. The potential demise of a highly relevant outgroup increased participants’ perceptions of ingroup identity threat, which was positively related to helping. At the same time, the outgroup’s misery evoked schadenfreude, which was negatively related to helping. Our research exemplifies a group’s secret desire for strong outgroups by underlining their importance for identity formation.

Trustworthiness of Crowds Is Gleaned in Half a Second
John Andrew Chwe & Jonathan Freeman
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming 


Trustworthiness is a fundamental dimension underlying trait impressions of individual faces, and these impressions predict real-world social consequences. Building on ensemble coding research from the vision sciences, we explored to what extent statistical information about trustworthiness is gleaned from rapid exposure to crowds of faces. We showed that with half-second exposures to sets of eight faces, perceivers are sensitive to the set’s average level of trustworthiness (Study 1). Moreover, this group-level sensitivity biases individual group member evaluations (Study 2), as well as downstream social behavior related to those evaluations (Study 3), toward the mean of the group. Together, the findings add to a growing body of “people perception” research and show that even high-level social characteristics such as personality traits may be spontaneously gleaned from rapid exposure to crowds of faces.

Self-essentialist reasoning underlies the similarity-attraction effect
Charles Chu & Brian Lowery
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming 


We propose that self-essentialist reasoning is a foundational mechanism of the similarity-attraction effect. Our argument is that similarity breeds attraction in two steps: (a) people categorize someone with a shared attribute as a person like me based on the self-essentialist belief that one’s attributes are caused by an underlying essence and (b) then apply their essence (and the other attributes it causes) to the similar individual to infer agreement about the world in general (i.e., a generalized shared reality). We tested this model in four experimental studies (N = 2,290) using both individual difference and moderation-of-process approaches. We found that individual differences in self-essentialist beliefs amplified the effect of similarity on perceived generalized shared reality and attraction across both meaningful (Study 1) and minimal (Study 2) dimensions of similarity. We next found that manipulating (i.e., interrupting) the two crucial steps of the self-essentialist reasoning process -- that is, by severing the connection between a similar attribute and one’s essence (Study 3) and deterring people from applying their essence to form an impression of a similar other (Study 4) -- attenuated the effect of similarity on attraction. We discuss the implications for research on the self, similarity-attraction, and intergroup phenomena.


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