The whitewashing effect: using racial contact to signal trustworthiness and competence

La Macchia, Stephen T., Louis, Winnifred R., Hornsey, Matthew J., Thai, Michael and Barlow, Fiona Kate 2016, The whitewashing effect: using racial contact to signal trustworthiness and competence, Personality and social psychology bulletin, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 118-129, doi: 10.1177/0146167215616801.

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Title The whitewashing effect: using racial contact to signal trustworthiness and competence
Author(s) La Macchia, Stephen T.ORCID iD for La Macchia, Stephen T.
Louis, Winnifred R.
Hornsey, Matthew J.
Thai, Michael
Barlow, Fiona Kate
Journal name Personality and social psychology bulletin
Volume number 42
Issue number 1
Start page 118
End page 129
Total pages 12
Publisher Sage Publications
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016-01
ISSN 0146-1672
Keyword(s) intergroup contact
interpersonal relations
social perception
social stigma
Summary The present research examines whether people use racial contact to signal positive and negative social attributes. In two experiments, participants were instructed to fake good (trustworthy/competent) or fake bad (untrustworthy/incompetent) when reporting their amount of contact with a range of different racial groups. In Experiment 1 (N = 364), participants faking good reported significantly more contact with White Americans than with non-White Americans, whereas participants faking bad did not. In Experiment 2 (N = 1,056), this pattern was replicated and was found to be particularly pronounced among those with stronger pro-White bias. These findings suggest that individuals may use racial contact as a social signal, effectively "whitewashing" their apparent contact and friendships when trying to present positively.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/0146167215616801
Field of Research 1701 Psychology
1702 Cognitive Science
Socio Economic Objective 0 Not Applicable
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Society for Personality and Social Psychology
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