Project Details


By the year 2050, census based projections suggest that 1 in 5 people will identify as biracial. Despite the rapid growth of biracial people, very little is known about how biracial people are perceived and placed into social or racial groups by others. The goal of this research is to test a racial categorization model that addresses the complexities inherent in classifying racially ambiguous targets -- such as those who are biracial and bicultural. This project will identify the central attributes that guide racial categorization by identifying the social psychological processes that influence how racially ambiguous people are categorized. Across several experiments, the proposed research will (1) identify which attributes, singly or together, guide racial categorization (e.g., physical appearance, cultural practice, racial ancestry), (2) clarify the inferences drawn from such attributes (e.g., inferences of disadvantage and perceived self-identification of targets), (3) establish the unique consequences of minority categorization for diversity-related entitlements (e.g., whether people believe a biracial target should benefit from an affirmative action policies) and expectations (e.g., whether people believe a biracial target will contribute to the diversity of opinion that would enhance group performance), and (4) assess the characteristics of perceivers that moderate responses to attributes (e.g., belief in biological essentialism, perceiver gender, perceiver race). This research will reveal how, why, and when racially ambiguous individuals are categorized as ethnic minorities. Moreover, the research will examine the important but often ignored outcomes of minority categorization. Such outcomes include not only drawbacks (such as being stereotyped) but also benefits (e.g., entitlements to resources via affirmative action policies) or perceptions that individuals are valuable to groups (i.e., diversity contributions). In doing so, this project will inform public policies such as institutional commitments to diversity and affirmative action regarding how best to structure those policies to address a broad array of ethnic minorities of diverse, often mixed, backgrounds.
Effective start/end date8/1/107/31/12


  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))


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