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, 42 1: 118-129. doi:10.1177/0146167215616801


Author La Macchia, Stephen T.
Louis, Winnifred R.
Hornsey, Matthew J.
Thai, Michael
Barlow, Fiona Kate
Title The Whitewashing Effect: Using racial contact to signal trustworthiness and competence
Journal name Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1552-7433
0146-1672
Publication date 2016-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0146167215616801
Volume 42
Issue 1
Start page 118
End page 129
Total pages 12
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, United States
Publisher SAGE Publications
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
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.
Keyword Intergroup contact
Prejudice
Race
Self-presentation
Stigma
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Psychology Publications
 
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