Person- and space-focused stereotyping at the intersection of race and class
Yantis, Caitlyn A.
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There is an abundance of psychological research describing stereotypes that are focused on people, but recent work has identified a different set of stereotypes, focused on physical spaces—for example, Black areas are stereotyped as dangerous and rundown (Bonam et al., in prep). In the current work, I explored the similarities and differences between person- and space-focused stereotyping processes at the intersection of race and class. In Study 1, I investigated how participants applied stereotypes to hypothetical person and space targets that varied by race (Black vs. White) and class (middle class vs. lower class). Participants subtyped Black and White person targets according to their income, but they applied lower class relevant racial stereotypes to a greater degree to Black (vs. White) house targets, regardless of property value. In Study 2, I tested the strength of participants’ associations between negative, lower-class traits and Black space in general (i.e., participants’ Black space prototype) as a potential moderator of the over-application of such stereotypes to all Black spaces, regardless of explicit class information. Participants with a stronger impoverished Black space prototype applied lower class relevant racial stereotypes to both lower- and middle-class Black houses to a greater extent than participants with a weaker prototype. Person- and space-focused stereotyping processes diverge at the intersection of race and class and, in turn, may differentially impact behavior. These findings highlight the value of studying the unique influences of person- and space-focused stereotyping in perpetuating racial disparities, such as access to high quality residential space and exposure to industrial pollution.
space-focused racial stereotyping