White or Black? Conservatives, Liberals See Faces Differently

White or Black? Conservatives, Liberals See Faces Differently

Pacific Standard
Santa Barbara, California

Tom Jacobs, Staff Writer

New research finds people on the political right are quicker to classify a racially ambiguous face as black.

Did you notice that mixed-race gentleman who passed you on the sidewalk yesterday? During the split second as he walked by, did he register in your mind as black or white?

Disturbing new research suggests the answer to that question may depend on your political ideology.

In three experiments, “we found that conservatives were more likely than liberals to categorize a racially ambiguous person as black than white,” a research team led by New York University psychologist Amy Krosch writes in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Intriguingly, this dynamic disappeared when the study participants—white Americans—were told they were judging Canadian faces. The tendency for those on the right to more quickly categorize someone as “black” only occurred when they were evaluating their fellow countrymen…

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