When the half affects the whole: Priming identity for biracial individuals in social interactions
In two studies we investigate how the fluid identities of biracial individuals interact with contextual factors to shape behavior in interracial settings. In Study 1, biracial Black/White participants (n = 22) were primed with either their Black or White identity before having a race-related discussion with a Black confederate. Study 2 (n = 34) assessed the influence of our prime on racial self-identification and examined interactions with a White confederate. Self-reports and nonverbal behavior indicated that when the primed racial ingroup matched that of an interaction partner, biracial participants behaved much like participants in same-race interactions in previous studies, exhibiting lower levels of anxiety. Priming the opposite racial identity, however, led to greater signs of anxiety, mimicking past interracial interaction findings. These results extend previous findings regarding the influence of contextual factors on racial identification for biracial individuals, and are the first to demonstrate the implications of these effects for behavioral tendencies. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Gaither, SE; Sommers, SR; Ambady, N
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