College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Racism and Racial Categorization

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1997

Publication Title

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

ISSN

0022-3514

Volume

72

Issue/No.

6

Abstract

Social identity theory predicts that perceivers strongly identified with an in-group will maximize the distinction and maintain a clear boundary between their own and other groups by categorizing others' membership accurately. Two experiments tested the prediction that racially prejudiced individuals, who presumably identify highly with their racial in-group, are more motivated to make accurate racial categorizations than nonprejudiced individuals. Results indicated that prejudiced participants not only took longer to categorize race-ambiguous targets (Experiments 1 and 2), but also made more nonverbal vocalizations when presented with them (Experiment 1), suggesting response hesitation. The results support the hypothesis that, compared to nonprejudiced individuals, prejudiced individuals concern themselves with accurate identification of in-group and out-group members and use caution when making racial categorizations.

DOI

10.1037/0022-3514.72.6.1364

Peer Reviewed

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