Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tight times may influence how we perceive others

Date:
November 28, 2012
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
From the playground to the office, a key aspect of our social lives involves figuring out who "belongs" and who doesn't. Scientists theorize that these prevalent in-group biases may give us a competitive advantage against others, especially when important resources are limited. New research explores whether resource scarcity might actually lead us to change our definition of who belongs to our social group, influencing how we perceive others' race.

From the playground to the office, a key aspect of our social lives involves figuring out who "belongs" and who doesn't. Our biases lead us -- whether we're aware of it or not -- to favor people who belong to our own social group. Scientists theorize that these prevalent in-group biases may give us a competitive advantage against others, especially when important resources are limited.

Psychological scientist Christopher Rodeheffer and his colleagues at Texas Christian University wanted to examine whether resource scarcity might actually lead us to change our definition of who belongs to our social group. Their new research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

One way of defining an in-group is according to outward appearance. Rodeheffer and colleagues hypothesized that people exposed to situations of scarcity would narrow their definition of who "belongs" and would be less likely to categorize a racially ambiguous face as part of their racial in-group.

In their first experiment, the researchers asked 71 White college students to look at captioned pictures that depicted instances in which resources were scarce (e.g., a picture of an empty office with captions about a shortage of good jobs) or abundant (e.g., a picture of a thriving office with captions about there being plenty of good jobs).

Rodeheffer and his colleagues created a series of biracial faces by averaging one White and one Black face using a face-averaging software program. They asked the participants to look at the biracial faces and categorize each face as either Black or White.

The findings showed that students who had looked at pictures depicting scarce resources were more likely to categorize the faces as Black than students who had seen the pictures of abundant resources.

These results were confirmed in a second experiment that used a verbal priming procedure in which the students were primed to think about resource scarcity or abundance by completing analogy problems.

According to the researchers, these findings suggest that "times of economic hardship may limit the inclusiveness of people's racial in-groups."

Rodeheffer and his colleagues note that future studies should examine whether the effects of resource availability cues on racial categorization are observed for participants of other races to ensure that the results are applicable across racial groups.

Co-authors on this study include Sarah E. Hill and Charles G. Lord.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. D. Rodeheffer, S. E. Hill, C. G. Lord. Does This Recession Make Me Look Black? The Effect of Resource Scarcity on the Categorization of Biracial Faces. Psychological Science, 2012; DOI: 10.1177/0956797612450892

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Tight times may influence how we perceive others." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128122033.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2012, November 28). Tight times may influence how we perceive others. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128122033.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Tight times may influence how we perceive others." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128122033.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins