Social Psychology

Stereotyping sticks

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Science  24 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6233, pp. 409
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6233.409-c

Perception of angry faces is shaped by stereotypes

CREDIT: © A. GREEN/CORBIS

A person better remembers faces of people who are members of one's own group—as defined, for instance, by sex or race—than of those who belong to an outgroup. An angry expression might reduce this difference, because threatening stimuli capture one's attention. Alternatively, it might increase the difference were it to trigger stereotyping. In a careful study using white and black faces and undergraduates, Gwinn et al. show that both white and black students better remembered individual neutral black faces than angry black faces, whereas their memories for angry and neutral white faces were similar, consistent with a stereotypical association of black faces and threat in the United States.

J. Exp. Soc. Psychol. 58, 1 (2015).

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