Model Minorities

Kevin Lewis

June 23, 2022

Posing while black: The impact of race and expansive poses on trait attributions, professional evaluations, and interpersonal relations
Francine Karmali & Kerry Kawakami
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

A large literature on nonverbal behavior demonstrates that information from body cues can inform our impressions of others. This work, however, has largely focused on perceptions of White targets. The current experiments extend this research by investigating the impact of body poses on trait attributions, professional evaluations, and interpersonal relations for both White and Black targets. In four studies, participants were presented with images of White and Black targets with expansive and constrictive poses. Not surprisingly, Experiment 1 revealed that expansive relative to constrictive poses increased perceptions of dominance for targets of both races. Furthermore, for White and Black targets, perceptions of dominance from expansive poses were mediated by greater attributions of competence. For Black but not White targets, however, perceptions of dominance from expansive poses were mediated by greater attributions of aggression. Three additional experiments examined the influence of poses on evaluations in professional and interpersonal contexts. Experiment 2 indicated that expansive compared to constrictive poses led to greater expectations of professional success for White than Black targets. Experiments 3 and 4 demonstrated that expansive compared to constrictive poses led to a greater willingness to interact in an interpersonal setting with White but not Black targets. Attributions of aggression related to expansive poses by Black targets reduced the likelihood that they were chosen as interaction partners. The implications of these findings for understanding body perception and race relations are discussed.

Affect Toward Transgender People, Political Awareness, and Support for Transgender Rights
Philip Edward Jones & Amy Becker
American Politics Research, forthcoming 

As with public opinion on other policy issues, attitudes toward transgender rights are partly driven by "group-centric" reasoning. Those with more positive feelings toward transgender people are more likely to support policies that protect their rights. But linking group affect with policies impacting members of that group requires some knowledge and understanding of politics, which not all citizens possess to the same extent. In this research note, we demonstrate that political awareness moderates the relationship between affect toward transgender people and support for their civil rights. ANES data from 2016 and 2020 show that more politically sophisticated respondents were more likely to connect their views of transgender people with policies that protect their rights. These results suggest that group-centric thinking is most prevalent among the most, not least, politically aware.

#MeToo Movement Backlash: How Evaluations of Women Advocates as More "Sexist" Weaken Movement Support
Jessica Roden
Media Psychology, forthcoming

Amidst the rise of movements against sexual harassment and assault, there are questions as to whether men are likely to view such activism as a threat to their livelihoods and their status as men. This study explores how the reception of supportive #MeToo tweets might differ based on the social identities of the messenger. This online survey experiment of White men (N = 421) examines the effects of messenger gender (man or woman) and race (Black or White) on perceptions of the messenger and subsequent movement attitudes and behavior intentions. Results show that White men found women #MeToo advocates to be more sexist than men advocates, which reduced their #MeToo movement solidarity, collective action intentions, and bystander intervention intentions. This study demonstrates the important role of "reverse sexism" perceptions in feminist social movement messaging by highlighting the antecedents and consequences of holding such beliefs. 

Black and Desi: Indian American Perceptions of Kamala Harris
Danielle Casarez Lemi, Maneesh Arora & Sara Sadhwani
Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, June 2022, Pages 376-389

How do voters evaluate descriptive representatives who vary in prototypicality? Specifically, how do Indian American voters evaluate Black women candidates who are also Indian American, or Indian American women candidates who are also Black? Using the case of Kamala Harris, we present findings from an original survey experiment of over 1,000 Indian Americans collected just prior to the 2020 election. We examine the power of shared identity cues for Indian American voters, who represent a growing political bloc of Asian American voters. We find that relative to being framed as Indian alone, Indian American respondents are less likely to support the Biden-Harris ticket when Harris is framed as Black and Indian American. This is true for Indian Americans who believe that Indian Americans have something in common. This study extends our knowledge of Black women in politics, Indian American politics, Asian American politics, and voter evaluations of mixed-race descriptive representatives.

How Racial Animus Forms and Spreads: Evidence from the Coronavirus Pandemic
Runjing Lu & Sophie Yanying Sheng
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, August 2022, Pages 82-98

This paper studies the formation and the spread of crisis-driven racial animus during the coronavirus pandemic. Exploiting plausibly exogenous variation in the timing of the first COVID-19 diagnosis across US areas, we find that the first local case leads to an immediate increase in local anti-Asian animus, as measured by Google searches and Twitter posts that include a commonly used derogatory racial epithet. This rise in animus specifically targets Asians and mainly comes from users who use the epithet for the first time. These first-time ch-word users are more likely to have expressed animosity against non-Asian minorities in the past, and their interaction with other anti-Asian individuals predicts the timing of their first ch-word tweets. Moreover, online animosity and offline hate incidents against Asians both increase with the salience of the connection between China and COVID-19; while the increase in racial animus is not associated with the local economic impact of the pandemic. Finally, the pandemic-driven racial animus we documented may persist beyond the duration of the pandemic, as most racist tweets do not explicitly mention the virus.

The Heaviest Drop of Blood: Black Exceptionalism Among Multiracials
Gregory John Leslie & David Sears
Political Psychology, forthcoming

We leverage the emerging multiracial population to reexamine prominent theories of the American color line. A Black exceptionalism hypothesis suggests that Black heritage will be more restrictive of biracials' social and political assimilation prospects than Asian or Latino heritage. Black exceptionalism better explains biracials' sorting into the racial hierarchy than does classic assimilation theory or a people-of-color hypothesis. In the American Community Survey, Black heritage dominates subjective racial self-identification among biracial adults and identity assignments to children of interracial marriages. In the 2015 Pew Survey of Multiracials, Black-White biracials' social identity, social networks, perceptions and experiences of discrimination, and political attitudes relevant to race resemble those of monoracial Blacks, whereas Latino-Whites and Asian-Whites are more similar to monoracial Whites than to their minority-group counterparts. Results suggest that even in a more racially mixed future, Black Americans will continue to be uniquely situated behind a most impermeable color line.

How you look is who you are: The appearance reveals character lay theory increases support for facial profiling
Shilpa Madan, Krishna Savani & Gita Venkataramani Johar
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

People are excessively confident that they can judge others' characteristics from their appearance. This research identifies a novel antecedent of this phenomenon. Ten studies (N = 2,967, 4 preregistered) find that the more people believe that appearance reveals character, the more confident they are in their appearance-based judgments, and therefore, the more they support the use of facial profiling technologies in law enforcement, education, and business. Specifically, people who believe that appearance reveals character support the use of facial profiling in general (Studies 1a and 1b), and even when they themselves are the target of profiling (Studies 1c and 1d). Experimentally inducing people to believe that appearance reveals character increases their support for facial profiling (Study 2), because it increases their confidence in the ability to make appearance-based judgments (Study 3). An intervention that undermines people's confidence in their appearance-based judgments reduces their support for facial profiling (Study 4). The relationship between the lay theory and support for facial profiling is weaker among people with a growth mindset about personality, as facial profiling presumes a relatively unchanging character (Study 5a). This relationship is also weaker among people who believe in free will, as facial profiling presumes that individuals have limited free will (Study 5b). The appearance reveals character lay theory is a stronger predictor of support for profiling than analogous beliefs in other domains, such as the belief that Facebook likes reveal personality (Study 6). These findings identify a novel lay theory that underpins people's meta-cognitions about their confidence in appearance-related judgments and their policy positions.


Beautiful seems good, but perhaps not in every way: Linking attractiveness to moral evaluation through perceived vanity
Da Eun Han & Sean Laurent
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

For almost 50 years, psychologists have understood that what is beautiful is perceived as good. This simple and intuitively appealing hypothesis has been confirmed in many ways, prompting a wide range of studies documenting the depth and breadth of its truth. Yet, for what is arguably one of the most important forms of "goodness" that there is-moral goodness-research has told a different story. Although greater attractiveness is associated with a host of positive attributes, it has been only inconsistently associated with greater perceived morality (or lesser immorality), and meta-analyses have suggested the total effect of beauty on moral judgment is near zero. The current research documents one plausible reason for this. Across nine experiments employing a variety of methodological and measurement strategies, we show how attractiveness can be perceived as both morally good and bad. We found that attractiveness causally influences beliefs about vanity, which translates into beliefs that more attractive targets are less moral and more immoral. Then, we document a positive association between attractiveness and sociability - the nonmoral component of warmth - and show how sociability exerts a countervailing positive effect on moral judgments. Likewise, we document findings suggesting that vanity and sociability mutually suppress the effects of attractiveness on each other and on moral judgments. Ultimately, this work provides a comprehensive process account of why beauty seems good but can also be perceived as less moral and more immoral, highlighting complex interrelations among different elements of person perception. 

When a Name Gives You Pause: Racialized Names and Time to Adoption in a County Dog Shelter
Natasha Quadlin & Bradley Montgomery
Social Psychology Quarterly, June 2022, Pages 210-235

Racialized names carry both penalties and premiums in social life. Prior research on implicit associations shows that racialized names tend to activate feelings of racial bias, such that people are more positively inclined toward White-sounding names than they are toward Black- and Hispanic-sounding names. But to what extent do racialized names continue to matter when they do not belong to people? In this article, we use an original data set collected over six months at a high-volume shelter where dogs are frequently given racialized names (N = 1,636). We also conducted a survey with a crowdsourced sample to gauge the racial perceptions of each dog's name. We combine these data sets to examine how racial perceptions of names are associated with time to adoption, a meaningful outcome that captures people's willingness to welcome a dog into their family. We find that as dogs' names are increasingly perceived as White, people adopt them faster. Conversely, as dogs' names are increasingly perceived as nonhuman (e.g., Fluffy), people adopt them slower. Perceptions of Black names are likewise tied to slower times to adoption, with this effect being concentrated among pit bulls, a breed that is stereotyped as dangerous and racialized as Black. These findings demonstrate the remarkable durability of racialized names. These names shape people's behavior and their impressions of others even when they are attached to animals - not just humans.

Assessing Variation and Change in Newspaper Portrayals of Muslims: The influence of the Trump Election and Differences across the United States in Local and National Papers
Amy Adamczyk et al.
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Since Donald Trump's political campaign, Americans have appeared increasingly divided over public opinion issues and U.S. policies with the media seemingly reflecting these divisions. One of Trump's early initiatives was the "Muslim ban," which restricted visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries. Focusing on the portrayal of Muslims in over 900 hand-coded articles, our study uses multilevel modeling techniques to examine how newspapers changed their frames and claimsmakers in discussions about Muslims before and after Trump was elected. After the election, newspapers were more likely to include government claimsmakers and an immigration frame and were less likely to mention a radical terrorist leader or portray Muslims as violent. Trump's election and the ban may have ushered in a more sympathetic view of Muslims with more articles focused on them as victims of violence and negative expressions. Across counties, states, and newspapers and between the national versus local presses, we find almost no significant differences in how Muslims were portrayed.

Fear Among the Feared: Arab Americans' Fear of Crime in an Ethnic Enclave Community
Amarat Zaatut & Shannon Jacobsen
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Drawing on racial threat hypothesis and in-depth interviews with first- and second-generation Arab immigrants, this study explores Arab immigrants' perceptions of risk and fear of crime in an ethnic enclave community. We find that Arab immigrants' fear of crime is shaped by the unique context in which they live, with this particular population perceiving members of other minority groups as the greatest threat to their culture, community, and safety. This study extends the minority threat perspective, which typically highlights the majority group's fear of immigrants and other minorities, by examining the inverse of this relationship. Specifically, what and who do immigrants fear at a time when they are perceived as one of the most threatening populations in the U.S.?


How Reel Middle Easterners' Portrayals Cultivate Stereotypical Beliefs and Policy Support
Ian Hawkins et al.
Mass Communication and Society, forthcoming

There is limited empirical research examining cultivation theory's proposition that first-order estimates influence second-order attitudes. In two studies, we examine how Middle Easterners are portrayed on entertainment television and how these portrayals cultivate stereotypical beliefs and policy support. A content analysis in Study 1 finds that nearly half of Middle Eastern characters on entertainment television are portrayed as supporting terrorism. A survey in Study 2 finds that watching television programs averaging two or more Middle Eastern terrorist characters per episode is associated with individuals' estimations that a higher percentage of Middle Easterners are associated with terrorism in the real world. This first-order cultivation effect was found to be a mediating mechanism between entertainment media exposure and support for restrictive immigration and naturalization policies. We discuss the importance of examining entertainment television representations of racial/ethnic minorities and their implications for attitudes and policy support relevant to the depicted groups.


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