Washington D.C, Oct 8 (ANI): As per a recent study, People perceive men with ‘black’-sounding names as larger and more dangerous person.
In a study exploring racial bias and how people use their mind’s-eye image of an imagined person’s size to represent someone as either threatening or high-status, UCLA researchers found that people envisioned men with stereotypically black names as bigger and more violent.
The study sought to understand how the human brain’s mechanism for interpreting social status evolved from the same mental systems that our early ancestors originally used to process threats.
In a series of studies involving more than 1,500 people, the researchers found that an unknown black male is conceived of similarly to an unknown white male who has been convicted of assault.
“I’ve never been so disgusted by my own data,” said lead author Colin Holbrook, adding “the amount that our study participants assumed based only on a name was remarkable. A character with a black-sounding name was assumed to be physically larger, more prone to aggression, and lower in status than a character with a white-sounding name.”
Not only did participants envision the characters with black-sounding names as larger, even though the actual average height of black and white men in the United States is the same, but the researchers also found that size and status were linked in opposite ways depending on the assumed race of the characters.
The larger the participants imagined the characters with “black”-sounding names, the lower they envisioned their financial success, social influence and respect in their community. Conversely, the larger they pictured those with “white”-sounding names, the greater they envisioned their status, said co-author Daniel Fessler.
Holbrook said that this study shows that, even among people who understand that racism is still very real, it’s important for them to acknowledge the possibility that they have not only prejudicial but really inaccurate stereotypes in their heads.
The study is published today in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. (ANI)