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Social belonging motivates categorization of racially ambiguous faces

Publication ,  Journal Article
Gaither, SE; Pauker, K; Slepian, ML; Sommers, SR
Published in: Social Cognition
April 1, 2016

Categorizing racially ambiguous individuals is multifaceted, and the current work proposes social-motivational factors also exert considerable influence on how racial ambiguity is perceived, directing the resolution of ambiguity in a manner that is functionally beneficial to the perceiver. Four studies tested two motivations related to social belonging: belonging needs and racial identification. Greater need to belong and racial identification (Study 1), and two types of social belonging threats - social exclusion (Studies 2a and 2b) and racial identity threat (Study 3) - predicted more categorizations of racially ambiguous Black/White faces as Black, with White participants more likely to categorize ambiguous faces as outgroup members (i.e., Black; Studies 1, 2a, 2b, and 3) and Black participants more likely to categorize ambiguous faces as ingroup members (Study 2b). Results also demonstrated that self-affirmation mitigated this motivated categorization for Whites (Study 3), illustrating the malleability of social categorization and its dependency on serving self-relevant goals.

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Published In

Social Cognition

DOI

ISSN

0278-016X

Publication Date

April 1, 2016

Volume

34

Issue

2

Start / End Page

97 / 118

Related Subject Headings

  • Social Psychology
  • Political Science & Public Administration
  • 5205 Social and personality psychology
  • 5204 Cognitive and computational psychology
  • 4408 Political science
  • 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields
  • 1702 Cognitive Sciences
  • 1701 Psychology
  • 1606 Political Science
 

Citation

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Gaither, S. E., Pauker, K., Slepian, M. L., & Sommers, S. R. (2016). Social belonging motivates categorization of racially ambiguous faces. Social Cognition, 34(2), 97–118. https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2016.34.2.97
Gaither, S. E., K. Pauker, M. L. Slepian, and S. R. Sommers. “Social belonging motivates categorization of racially ambiguous faces.” Social Cognition 34, no. 2 (April 1, 2016): 97–118. https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2016.34.2.97.
Gaither SE, Pauker K, Slepian ML, Sommers SR. Social belonging motivates categorization of racially ambiguous faces. Social Cognition. 2016 Apr 1;34(2):97–118.
Gaither, S. E., et al. “Social belonging motivates categorization of racially ambiguous faces.” Social Cognition, vol. 34, no. 2, Apr. 2016, pp. 97–118. Scopus, doi:10.1521/soco.2016.34.2.97.
Gaither SE, Pauker K, Slepian ML, Sommers SR. Social belonging motivates categorization of racially ambiguous faces. Social Cognition. 2016 Apr 1;34(2):97–118.
Journal cover image

Published In

Social Cognition

DOI

ISSN

0278-016X

Publication Date

April 1, 2016

Volume

34

Issue

2

Start / End Page

97 / 118

Related Subject Headings

  • Social Psychology
  • Political Science & Public Administration
  • 5205 Social and personality psychology
  • 5204 Cognitive and computational psychology
  • 4408 Political science
  • 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields
  • 1702 Cognitive Sciences
  • 1701 Psychology
  • 1606 Political Science