Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pervasive implicit hierarchies for race, religion, age revealed by study

Date:
July 31, 2014
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
As much as social equality is advocated in the United States, a new study suggests that besides evaluating their own race and religion most favorably, people share implicit hierarchies for racial, religious, and age groups that may be different from their conscious, explicit attitudes and values.

As much as social equality is advocated in the United States, a new study suggests that besides evaluating their own race and religion most favorably, people share implicit hierarchies for racial, religious, and age groups that may be different from their conscious, explicit attitudes and values.

Related Articles


The study findings appear in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"People from relatively low-status groups can readily report that their group does not have the most power. At the same time, most groups, even if they have less social power, favor their own group above all others," explains psychological scientist Jordan R. Axt of the University of Virginia, lead author of the study. "We wanted to investigate how these dual influences -- the knowledge that one's group may not have the most power, but nevertheless favoring that group the most -- would reveal themselves on measures of both explicit and implicit attitudes."

Axt and colleagues analyzed data from hundreds of thousands of American participants who completed online Brief Implicit Association Tests (BIAT) on race, religion, and age.

In the first task, participants viewed a male or female face of a particular racial group as well as positive words such as love, pleasant, great, and wonderful, and negative words such as hate, unpleasant, awful, and terrible. For each set, participants categorized the positive and negative words with faces belonging to each racial group.

The idea behind the BIAT is that people are quicker to categorize things with the same response when they are associated more closely in memory, even if they consciously reject that association. If a person has positive associations with a particular racial group, for example, it should take less time to categorize faces from that group together with positive words. A person with negative associations, on the other hand, would need more time to categorize faces from that group together with positive words. Thus, the BIAT can uncover biases people may not be conscious of and do not endorse.

Axt and colleagues found that participants were most likely to prefer members of their own race. Additionally, members of almost every racial group exhibited an implicit racial hierarchy of positive evaluations: White, then Asian, then Black, then Hispanic.

Likewise, people favored their own religion. After their own group, participants' implicit hierarchies usually placed Christianity next, followed by Judaism, Hinduism or Buddhism (there were two versions of the test, with either Hinduism or Buddhism as an option), and Islam.

Unlike race and religion, however, people did not show a preference for members of their own age group. Still, every age group demonstrated an implicit age-based hierarchy with children at the top, followed by young adults, middle-aged adults, and, finally, older adults.

Importantly, participants' implicit associations differed from evaluations they made when asked to report what they consciously thought of various racial, religious, and age groups.

The researchers offer an explanation for the results:

"Our explicit, conscious attitudes may be derived more from personal beliefs about others. At the same time, implicit attitudes may arise both from our own identities as well as from widely spread cultural beliefs or values," says Axt. "While we may disagree with such cultural beliefs, these results illustrate how they can nevertheless shape our minds."

According to Axt and colleagues, the findings contribute to the debate over whether people prefer their own groups, or if those on a lower social rung actually esteem high-status groups as a justification for the way things are:

"Like many scientific debates, our results suggest that the answer is 'both.'"


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. J. R. Axt, C. R. Ebersole, B. A. Nosek. The Rules of Implicit Evaluation by Race, Religion, and Age. Psychological Science, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0956797614543801

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Pervasive implicit hierarchies for race, religion, age revealed by study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140731102526.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2014, July 31). Pervasive implicit hierarchies for race, religion, age revealed by study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140731102526.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Pervasive implicit hierarchies for race, religion, age revealed by study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140731102526.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Labour Party Warns Britain's Health Service 'on Life Support'

Labour Party Warns Britain's Health Service 'on Life Support'

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) Britain&apos;s opposition Labour Party Monday claimed the National Health Service (NHS) was &apos;on life support&apos; as it turned its attention to the state-run service, which is a key issue for the UK&apos;s May 7 general election. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pending Comcast-Time Warner Merger Has DOJ, FCC Concerned

Pending Comcast-Time Warner Merger Has DOJ, FCC Concerned

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) The Department of Justice reportedly has concerns a Time Warner-Comcast merger would create an entity too large in the cable and broadband markets. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico started the biggest oil spill in US history. BP recently reported the Gulf is recovering well, but scientists paint a different picture. Duration: 02:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thai Customs Seize African Elephant Tusks Worth $6 Mn

Thai Customs Seize African Elephant Tusks Worth $6 Mn

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) Thai customs seize four tonnes of African elephant ivory worth $6 million at a Bangkok port in a container labelled as beans. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
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


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

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