Judged at first sight : the effects of stereotype inconsistency on interracial romantic evaluations
Interracial romantic relationships are uncommon, and research on why individuals choose or do not choose to romantically interact with members outside their racial group is recent and limited (Mok, 1999). Because stereotype inconsistency has been shown to have positive effects on evaluations of minority races (Power et al., 1996), the present study investigated how stereotype inconsistency might influence one’s willingness to date interracially. We investigated this factor by providing White women with fictional online dating profiles of Black, Asian, and White men. Each participant saw two profiles that featured negative stereotypes of either Black or Asian races. Half the participants were led to believe the men were of the minority race, and the other half, who read the exact same profiles, were led to believe that the men were White. One of the two profiles was consistent with the negative stereotype of that minority group and the other was stereotype inconsistent. Participants evaluated the men as romantic prospects by indicating their attraction and romantic interest in the men. We predicted that inconsistency with a negative stereotype would make evaluations more favorable regardless of the race of that target. We also predicted that evaluations would be based more on profile content than race of the target, so the evaluations of a profile presented as Black or Asian to one group and as White to another would be relatively the same. Results supported both hypotheses. Implications of stereotype inconsistency’s influence within the interracial dating context and limitations of the study are discussed.
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