Knowledge about individuals’ interracial friendships is systematically associated with mental representations of their race, traits, and group solidarity, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Individuals with other-race friends are perceived to identify less strongly with their racial in-group than are individuals with same-race friends. Using the reverse-correlation technique, we show that this effect goes beyond perceptions of social identification, influencing how people are mentally represented. In four studies with Black and White American participants, we demonstrate a “racial assimilation effect”: Participants, independent of their own race, represented both Black and White targets with other-race friends as phenotypically more similar to the respective racial out-group. Representations of targets with racial out-group friends were subsequently rated as more likely to engage in social action supportive of the racial out-group. Out-group targets with other-race friends were represented more favorably than out-group targets with mostly same-race friends. White participants had particularly negative representations of in-group members with mostly Black friends. The present research suggests that individuals’ social networks influence how their race and associated traits are mentally represented.
Jonas R Kunst, Ivuoma Ngozi Onyeador, John F Dovidio
Kunst, Jonas R, Ivuoma Ngozi Onyeador, and John F Dovidio. 2021. Knowledge about individuals’ interracial friendships is systematically associated with mental representations of their race, traits, and group solidarity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.: 1-17.