Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Thoughtful people more likely to infer improvements in race relations

Date:
March 20, 2014
Source:
University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Summary:
According to a recent poll, a majority of Americans believe that there is still at least some racism against African Americans in this country. But new research shows that people are more likely to deny the persistence of racism after being exposed to a successful African American. The study demonstrate that when white people are exposed to images of exceptionally successful blacks, they quickly infer that racial disparity is not due to the persistence of racism, but rather due to shortcomings in the African American Community.

According to a recent Pew Research poll, a majority of Americans believe that there is still at least some racism against African Americans in this country. But new research by Jane L. Risen of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business shows that people are more likely to deny the persistence of racism after being exposed to a successful African American. Notably, people who are most thoughtful seem to be the ones who are most vulnerable to making these quick inferences.

In "If He Can Do It, So Can They: Exposure to Counterstereotypically Successful Exemplars Prompts Automatic Inferences," from the March issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Risen and colleague Clayton R. Critcher of the University of California at Berkeley demonstrate that when white people are exposed to images of exceptionally successful blacks, they quickly infer that racial disparity is not due to the persistence of racism, but rather due to shortcomings in the African American Community.

"When Obama was elected there was a narrative suggesting that his election somehow proved that we live in a post-racial world where African Americans face no disadvantages. People seem to infer that, 'If he can do it, anyone can,' implying that if other black people are not successful, it's not because of continued racism, but instead, because of something about them."

Critcher and Risen conducted eight different experiments in which participants were exposed to images of successful people and then, in what they thought was an unrelated task, answered questions about the current state of race relations. Even when only one of the many images was of an exceptional African American, such as Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey, the conclusions subjects drew about the state of racism were affected.

However, these automatic inferences, as the researchers describe them, do not reflect the participants' explicit reasoning or beliefs and in fact occur outside of their awareness. Once they were explicitly asked about the meaning of these exemplars for race relations in America, the subjects stated that these exceptional Blacks should not be taken as evidence that race does not get in the way of success.

The researchers show that the disparity between the participants' quick conclusions and their beliefs is strongest for subjects who are most thoughtful and deliberate. We typically think that errors in judgment occur because people simply do not think enough. But the study suggests that the same characteristics that make people think carefully also are more likely to cause those same people to make automatic inferences because they are more sensitive to subtle information.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Critcher, Clayton R.; Risen, Jane L. If he can do it, so can they: Exposure to counterstereotypically successful exemplars prompts automatic inferences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, March 2014

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Booth School of Business. "Thoughtful people more likely to infer improvements in race relations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140320121958.htm>.
University of Chicago Booth School of Business. (2014, March 20). Thoughtful people more likely to infer improvements in race relations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140320121958.htm
University of Chicago Booth School of Business. "Thoughtful people more likely to infer improvements in race relations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140320121958.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Burning Away Brain Tumors

Burning Away Brain Tumors

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Doctors are 'cooking' brain tumors. Hear how this new laser-heat procedure cuts down on recovery time. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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