Now why am I not surprised by this?
Disturbing new research suggests the answer to that question may depend on your political ideology.
In three experiments, “we found that conservatives were more likely than liberals to categorize a racially ambiguous person as black than white,” a research team led by New York University psychologist Amy Krosch writes in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology…
…Specifically, “conservatism was associated with a lower threshold for categorizing racially ambiguous faces as black,” the researchers report.
The third experiment, featuring 62 participants (all white), was identical to the first two, except that half the faces were identified as “Canadian.” They were presented against a red background, while “Americans” were seen against a blue background.
The results: “Political conservatism was associated with a lower threshold for categorizing racially ambiguous faces as black when it came to American, but not Canadian, faces.” Whatever impulse that led conservatives to think “black” was negated when they were told they were dealing with residents of a different country.
“There are several possible explanations” for these findings, the researchers write. “Conservatives exhibit stronger preferences for order, structure, and closure, and greater intolerance of ambiguity in comparison with liberals.” Thus they “might be more motivated to resolve racial ambiguity, and to resolve it in the most common or culturally accessible manner.”
Beyond that, Krosch and her colleagues suspect this reflects a phenomenon coined by New York University psychologist John Jost (a co-author of the paper): system justification theory. The term refers to the tendency, which is particularly pronounced among conservatives, to rationalize the sociopolitical system one inhabits as inherently fair and just.
In that context, these results “may reflect, among other things, the motivation to defend and uphold traditional racial divisions that are part of the historical legacy of the United States,” writes the research team, which also included Leslie Berntsen, David Amodio and Jay Van Bavel.
In other words, sometimes conservative people see what they want to see. Read more of this interesting article and study here.