The Role of Diversity Exposure in Whites’ Reduction in Race Essentialism Over Time

Kristin Pauker, Colleen Carpinella, Chanel Meyers, Danielle M. Young, Diana T. Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Despite multidisciplinary theorizing on the consequences of the changing racial demographics in the United States, few studies have systematically examined how exposure to racial diversity may impact White individuals’ lay beliefs about race. In a longitudinal study, we explored whether living in a racially diverse environment with a high multiracial population was related to White individuals’ endorsement of race essentialism and its downstream consequences. Endorsement of race essentialism decreased over time, and greater diversity of acquaintances over time was associated with this decrease. Race essentialism reduction also corresponded with a decrease in modern racism and social dominance orientation, and an increase in cognitive flexibility, over time. These findings are consistent with the idea that a racially diverse social context can shape endorsement of race essentialism and lead to social and cognitive benefits for White individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)944-952
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


  • intergroup relations
  • race essentialism
  • racial diversity


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