More than 70 years ago, a couple of psychologists conducted a study in which they asked young black girls to choose between black and white dolls. Girls overwhelmingly chose white dolls, giving them positive attributes.
Black girls’ choices and reasoning were interpreted by the study authors as indicating “a sense of inferiority among African American children and a loss of self-esteem.”
The dice were cast in the discourse of psychology: if you like a group you don’t belong to – an “outgroup” – it’s because you have bad feelings about your own group – your “ingroup”. “.
A UC Riverside study involving more than 879,000 participants published this week challenges the assumption that liking an outgroup means disliking your ingroup.
“Our results suggest that outgroup preference does not necessarily reflect negative feelings about the ingroup as much as it reflects positive feelings about the outgroup,” said Jimmy Calanchini, assistant professor of psychology at UC Riverside and lead author of the study.
In the 1940s study, psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark used four dolls, identical except for color, and asked young black girls questions such as which doll they would play with and what was “the pretty doll”. The girls chose the white dolls, leading researchers to the famous conclusion that a black child at age 5 is aware that “being colored in…American society is a mark of low status.” The study was later used as supporting evidence in the landmark 1954 desegregation decision Brown v. Board of Education.
Calanchini’s study focused on measures of implicit bias. While explicit bias is bias that is expressed directly – for example, “I think this group is superior to this group” – implicit bias is measured indirectly.
Calanchini measured implicit bias with the Implicit Association Test, or IAT, a computerized task in which participants sort words related to ingroups and outgroups, as well as pleasant and unpleasant concepts. If a participant responds faster and more accurately to some word pairings than others – for example, ingroup-good versus ingroup-bad – this suggests that faster/more accurate responses are more strongly connected in the mind. of the participant.
The study was administered via websites to 879,000 volunteers, as well as undergraduate students at the University of California, Davis. The IATs measured implicit bias in racial contexts—black, white, and Asian; sexual preference—straight vs. gay; and age – young versus old.
Among members of minority or relatively lower-status groups—Asians, Blacks, gays, older adults—who showed implicit bias in favor of a higher-status outgroup, they consistently showed higher ratings positive evaluations of the external group than of negative evaluations of their own group. The researchers found the same pattern among members of majority or relatively higher-status groups — white, straight, young — who showed an implicit bias toward their own ingroup. Their ingroup liking showed more positive ingroup ratings than negative outgroup ratings.
“Whenever people like a higher status group, it’s not necessarily at the expense of the lower status group,” Calanchini concluded.
Calanchini speculates that one possible reason is the favorable portrayal of high profile groups in culture, such as movies and politics.
There was one exception to the conclusion that one can love an outgroup without having negative feelings toward their ingroup. Whites and young people who showed implicit bias towards other races or older people were more likely to have negative feelings about their ingroups.
The study, “The Contributions of Positive Outgroup and Negative Ingroup Evaluation to Implicit Bias Favoring Outgroups,” was published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The facial recognition area of the brain does not differentiate between outgroup members
Jimmy Calanchini et al, The contributions of positive outgroup and negative ingroup assessment to implicit bias favoring outgroups, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2022). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2116924119
Provided by University of California – Riverside
Quote: Liking Another Group Doesn’t Mean You Dislike Yours (2022, September 30) Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-group-doesnt.html
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