Racial Diversity Improves Group Decision Making In Unexpected Ways, According To Tufts University Research
In a study published in the April 2006 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology involving 200 participants on 29 mock juries, panels of whites and blacks performed better than all-white groups by a number of measures. “Such diverse juries deliberated longer, raised more facts about the case, and conducted broader and more wide-ranging deliberations,” said Samuel R. Sommers, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University. “They also made fewer factual errors in discussing evidence and when errors did occur, those errors were more likely to be corrected during the discussion.”
“Changes in whites’ behavior began as soon as they were aware of the composition of their group, before jury deliberations began,” said Sommers. Â Surprisingly, this difference was primarily due to significant changes in white behavior. Whites on diverse juries cited more case facts, made fewer mistakes in recalling facts and evidence, and pointed out missing evidence more frequently than did those on all-white juries. They were also more amenable to discussing racism when in diverse groups.
Read the full story here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060410162259.htm
When Social Fear Is Missing, So Are Racial Stereotypes, Shows Study of Children With Williams Syndrome
The April 13, 2010 issue of Current Biology showed children a series of vignettes with people differing in race or gender and asked the children to assign positive or negative features to those pictured. Typical children made strongly stereotypical assignments both for sex roles and for race, confirming the results of previous studies. On the other hand, children with Williams syndrome showed no evidence for racial bias.
“The unique hypersociable profile of individuals with Williams syndrome often leads them to consider that everybody in the world is their friend,” Meyer-Lindenberg said. “In previous work, we have shown that processing of social threat is deficient in people with the syndrome. Based on this, we suspected that they would not show a particular preference for own-race versus other-race characters. The finding that racial stereotypes in children with Williams syndrome were completely absent was nevertheless surprising in its degree.”
Read the full story here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412124952.htm
Caucasians and Asians Don’t Examine Faces in the Same Way
Caucasians and Asians don’t examine faces in the same way, according to new research by PhD student Caroline Blais, of the UniversitÃ© de MontrÃ©al Department of Psychology. Blais (2009) used a camera designed to track eye movements to study 14 Caucasian and 14 Asian participants. As part of the experiment, subjects were shown 112 Caucasian and Asian faces and asked to report if they had seen the face before and to name the dominating trait. The study confirmed that Caucasians study the triangle of the eyes and mouth, while Asians focus on the nose.
Caucasian and Asian subjects excelled at recognizing someone of their race, yet both had the same level of difficulty in identifying someone of another ethnic group. According to Blais, this says more about the analytical approach of Caucasians and the holistic approach of Asians.
In a second experiment, test subjects had to pinpoint an emotion: surprise, fear, disgust or joy. Asians mostly focused on the eyes and not enough on the mouth, which meant some emotions were wrongly identified.
“Asians had particular problems with negative emotions. They confused fear and surprise as well as disgust and anger,” says Blais. “This is because they avoided looking at the mouth which provides a lot of information about these emotions.”
Read the full story here:
Racial Bias Can Be Reduced By Teaching People To Differentiate Facial Features Better In Individuals Of A Different Race
Sophie Lebrecht, a Ph.D student (2008) in the Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences found that prior to training, 20 white American participants more quickly responded if the word was negative and followed an African-American face. Subjects responded more slowly if the word was positive and followed an African-American face.
After using the ALPS to measure each subjects’ implicit racial bias, the subjects took part in about 10 hours of facial recognition training. Half learned to tell apart individual African-American faces and half learned simply to tell whether the faces were African-American or not.
The training worked on a number of levels. Individual subjects improved their ability to tell the difference between separate Africa-American faces. Those same subjects who improved that ability also showed the greatest reduction in their implicit racial bias as measured by the ALPS system. Their positive associations with African-American faces increased and they had fewer negative associations with African-American faces.
Read the full story here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090120204759.htm
Psychologists Show How Accent Shapes Our Perception of a Person
Diversitypedia (Dec. 19, 2010) — A person’s accent influences the way we judge the person, according to a recent published research study by psychologists at Jena University in Germany.
“The classification into social categories, like for instance ethnicity, happens spontaneously and helps us to understand and simplify the complex world and to enable us to deal more easily with complexity,” Dr. Rakic says. “The accent is much more important than the way a person looks”.
Categorizing a person based on her or his accent results in making erroneous judgments when the use of the information turns into stereotype-based judgment that underlies discrimination. In their studies Dr. Rakic and her colleagues tested empirically the influence of language on ethnic categorization. According to Dr. Rakic, “With our language we are not only transmitting information. Language itself provides a lot of information about the person speaking”. One conclusion is that conclusions can be drawn from language about the temperament, age or state of mind of a person which an accent gives away.
Previously scientists assumed that visual cues have a priority in categorizing unknown people. Language on the other hand, especially an accent plays a more crucial role that how a person looks.
They showed to the participants the photos of German and Italian looking persons together with a written statement of the persons depicted. Then the participants had to assign the statements to the depicted persons. In accordance with earlier findings mix-ups were particularly common within the groups of German and Italian looking persons. Statements made by German looking persons however were not wrongly assigned to Italian looking persons (or vice versa). But it got more interesting when accents were added: Now some German looking persons spoke standard German and some with an Italian accent, (as well as Italian looking people).
“The results indicate that the participants orientated themselves nearly exclusively on the spoken accent while categorizing people,” says Dr. Rakic. The looks which came into the equation by categorizing in the first experiment while no other information was provided were not important anymore. According to Rakic, the implications are that language is a source of information used in the ethnic categorization and social inclusion.
The above story is reprinted in part from materials provided by Friedrich-Schiller-UniversitÃ¤t Jena, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
Tamara RakiÄ‡, Melanie C. Steffens, AmÃ©lie Mummendey. Blinded by the accent! The minor role of looks in ethnic categorization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2010; DOI: 10.1037/a0021522