Resolving racial ambiguity in social interactions


Journal Article

© 2018 Elsevier Inc. People take longer to categorize racially ambiguous individuals, but does this perceptual complexity also affect social interactions? In Study 1, White participants interacted with a racially ambiguous confederate who was either labeled as biracial Black/White, monoracial Black, or given no racial label. White participants in the biracial condition were significantly less cognitively depleted, less essentialist in their thoughts about race, and exhibited more accurate face memory for their partners than when partner race remained unspecified or was labeled as monoracial Black. Confederate reports and nonverbal behavior in the biracial condition were also more positive. In Study 2, White participants perceived more similarity with a biracial Black/White labeled interaction partner compared to a Black-specified or race-unspecified partner, highlighting for the first time how racial ambiguity and racial labeling affect behavioral outcomes in social interactions.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gaither, SE; Babbitt, LG; Sommers, SR

Published Date

  • May 1, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 76 /

Start / End Page

  • 259 - 269

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-0465

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1031

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jesp.2018.03.003

Citation Source

  • Scopus