Payne (2001) has documented that African-American faces automatically facilitate the categorization of handguns, relative to White faces. We suggest that these provocative results could derive from either the automatic activation of prejudice (negative evaluations) or the automatic activation of stereotypes (both positively and negatively valenced associations). In an extension of Payne's procedure, we show that African-American faces facilitate the categorization of both handguns and sports-related objects, but not the categorization of insects or fruits. Additionally, both handguns and sports objects are more likely to be miscategorized following a White face prime than an African-American one. These results suggest that when perceivers are attempting to identify objects, automatic stereotypic associations, both positively and negatively valenced ones, are more influential than general negative sentiments towards African-Americans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science