Kevin Lewis

January 17, 2019

More than just friends? School peers and adult interracial relationships
Luca Paolo Merlino, Max Friedrich Steinhardt & Liam Wren-Lewis
Journal of Labor Economics, forthcoming


This paper investigates whether interracial contact in childhood impacts adult romantic relationships. We exploit quasi-random variation in the share of black students across cohorts within US schools. We find that more black peers of the same gender lead whites to have more relationships with blacks as adults. While we do not find impacts on labor market outcomes, there are significant effects on reported racial attitudes. Furthermore, an increase in meeting opportunities is unlikely to explain the increased interracial relationships, since the effect is persistent across time, space and social networks. Overall, interracial contact during childhood has important long-term behavioral consequences.

Perceiving Happiness in an Intergroup Context: The Role of Race and Attention to the Eyes in Differentiating Between True and False Smiles
Justin Friesen et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming


The present research comprises six experiments that investigated racial biases in the perception of positive emotional expressions. In an initial study, we demonstrated that White participants distinguished more in their happiness ratings of Duchenne (“true”) and non-Duchenne (“false”) smiles on White compared with Black faces (Experiment 1). In a subsequent study we replicated this effect using a different set of stimuli and non-Black participants (Experiment 2). As predicted, this bias was not demonstrated by Black participants, who did not significantly differ in happiness ratings between smile types on White and Black faces (Experiment 3). Furthermore, in addition to happiness ratings, we demonstrated that non-Black participants were also more accurate when categorizing true versus false expressions on White compared with Black faces (Experiment 4). The final two studies provided evidence for the mediating role of attention to the eyes in intergroup emotion identification. In particular, eye tracking data indicated that White participants spent more time attending to the eyes of White than Black faces and that attention to the eyes predicted biases in happiness ratings between true and false smiles on White and Black faces (Experiment 5). Furthermore, an experimental manipulation focusing participants on the eyes of targets eliminated the effects of target race or perceptions of happiness (Experiment 6). Together, the findings provide novel evidence for racial biases in the identification of positive emotions and highlight the critical role of visual attention in this process.

Patterns of Implicit and Explicit Attitudes: Long-Term Change and Stability From 2007 to 2016
Tessa Charlesworth & Mahzarin Banaji
Psychological Science, forthcoming


Using 4.4 million tests of implicit and explicit attitudes measured continuously from an Internet population of U.S. respondents over 13 years, we conducted the first comparative analysis using time-series models to examine patterns of long-term change in six social-group attitudes: sexual orientation, race, skin tone, age, disability, and body weight. Even within just a decade, all explicit responses showed change toward attitude neutrality. Parallel implicit responses also showed change toward neutrality for sexual orientation, race, and skin-tone attitudes but revealed stability over time for age and disability attitudes and change away from neutrality for body-weight attitudes. These data provide previously unavailable evidence for long-term implicit attitude change and stability across multiple social groups; the data can be used to generate and test theoretical predictions as well as construct forecasts of future attitudes.

“Harder and Harder”? Is Mainstream Pornography Becoming Increasingly Violent and Do Viewers Prefer Violent Content?
Eran Shor & Kimberly Seida
Journal of Sex Research, January 2019, Pages 16-28


It is a common notion among many scholars and pundits that the pornography industry becomes “harder and harder” with every passing year. Some have suggested that porn viewers, who are mostly men, become desensitized to “soft” pornography, and producers are happy to generate videos that are more hard core, resulting in a growing demand for and supply of violent and degrading acts against women in mainstream pornographic videos. We examined this accepted wisdom by utilizing a sample of 269 popular videos uploaded to PornHub over the past decade. More specifically, we tested two related claims: (1) aggressive content in videos is on the rise and (2) viewers prefer such content, reflected in both the number of views and the rankings for videos containing aggression. Our results offer no support for these contentions. First, we did not find any consistent uptick in aggressive content over the past decade; in fact, the average video today contains shorter segments showing aggression. Second, videos containing aggressive acts are both less likely to receive views and less likely to be ranked favorably by viewers, who prefer videos where women clearly perform pleasure.

Flattering to deceive: Why people misunderstand benevolent sexism
Aife Hopkins-Doyle et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, February 2019, Pages 167-192


Perceptions of warmth play a central role in social cognition. Seven studies use observational, correlational, and experimental methods to examine its role in concealing the functions of benevolent sexism (BS). Together, Studies 1 (n = 297), 2 (n = 252), and 3 (n = 219) indicated that although women recall experiencing benevolent (vs. hostile) sexism more often, they protest it less often, because they see it as warm. In Studies 4 (n = 296) and 5 (n = 361), describing men as high in BS caused them (via warmth) to be seen as lower in hostile sexism (HS) and more supportive of gender equality. In Study 6 (n = 283) these findings were replicated and extended, revealing misunderstanding of relationships between BS and a wide array of its correlates. In Study 7 (n = 211), men experimentally described as harboring warm (vs. cold) attitudes toward women were perceived as higher in BS but lower in known correlates of BS. These findings demonstrate that the warm affective tone of BS, particularly when displayed by men, masks its ideological functions.

Reducing prejudice through narratives: An examination of the mechanisms of vicarious intergroup contact
Emily Moyer-Gusé, Katherine Dale & Michelle Ortiz
Journal of Media Psychology, forthcoming


Recent extensions to the contact hypothesis reveal that different forms of contact, such as mediated intergroup contact, can reduce intergroup anxiety and improve attitudes toward the outgroup. This study draws on existing research to further consider the role of identification with an ingroup character within a narrative depicting intergroup contact between Muslim and non-Muslim Americans. Results reveal that identification with the non-Muslim (ingroup) model facilitated liking the Muslim (outgroup) model, which reduced prejudice toward Muslims more generally. Identification with the ingroup model also increased conversational self-efficacy and reduced anxiety about future intergroup interactions — both important aspects of improving intergroup relations.

Bros Will Be Bros? The Effect of Fraternity Membership on Perceived Culpability for Sexual Assault
Rita Seabrook & Monique Ward
Violence Against Women, forthcoming


To examine the link between fraternity membership and sexual assault perpetration, we used an experimental design to assess the role of perceptions in an ambiguous sexual assault scenario. Undergraduates (N = 408) were randomly assigned to either an experimental group where the perpetrator is a fraternity member or a control group where no fraternity information is given. Males rated perpetrators as less guilty and victims as more culpable when the perpetrator was a fraternity member, suggesting that sexual violence may be reinforced among fraternity members as they are both more likely to perpetrate sexual assault and less likely to be blamed.

A new way to look at the data: Similarities between groups of people are large and important
Paul Hanel, Gregory Maio & Antony Manstead
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming


Most published research focuses on describing differences, while neglecting similarities that are arguably at least as interesting and important. In Study 1, we modified and extended prior procedures for describing similarities and demonstrate the importance of this exercise by examining similarities between groups on 22 social variables (e.g., moral attitudes, human values, and trust) within 6 commonly used social categories: gender, age, education, income, nation of residence, and religious denomination (N = 86,272). On average, the amount of similarity between 2 groups (e.g., high vs. low educated or different countries) was greater than 90%. Even large effect sizes revealed more similarities than differences between groups. Studies 2–5 demonstrated the importance of presenting information about similarity in research reports. Compared with the typical presentation of differences (e.g., barplots with confidence intervals), similarity information led to more accurate lay perceptions and to more positive attitudes toward an outgroup. Barplots with a restricted y-axis led to a gross underestimation of similarities (i.e., a gross overestimation of the differences), and information about similarities was rated as more comprehensible. Overall, the presentation of similarity information achieves more balanced scientific communication and may help address the file drawer problem.

Effects of sexualized video games on online sexual harassment
Jonathan Burnay, Brad Bushman & Frank Larøi
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming


Negative consequences of video games have been a concern since their inception. However, one under‐researched area is the potential negative effects of sexualized video game content on players. This study analyzed the consequences of sexualized video game content on online sexual harassment against male and female targets. We controlled for a number of variables that might be related to online sexual harassment (i.e., trait aggressiveness, ambivalent sexism, online disinhibition). Participants (N = 211) played a video game with either sexualized or non‐sexualized female characters. After gameplay, they had the opportunity to sexually harass a male or a female partner by sending them sexist jokes. Based on the General Aggression Model integrated with the Confluence Model of Sexual Aggression (Anderson & Anderson, 2008), we predicted that playing the game with sexualized female characters would increase sexual harassment against female targets. Results were consistent with these predictions. Sexual harassment levels toward a female partner were higher for participants who played the game with sexualized female characters than for participants who played the same game with non‐sexualized female characters. These findings indicate that sexualization of female characters in a video game can be a sufficient condition to provoke online sexual harassment toward women.


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