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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Jul;81(1):33-43.

Moral credentials and the expression of prejudice.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Princeton University, New Jersey 08544, USA. bmonin@princeton.edu

Abstract

Three experiments supported the hypothesis that people are more willing to express attitudes that could be viewed as prejudiced when their past behavior has established their credentials as nonprejudiced persons. In Study 1, participants given the opportunity to disagree with blatantly sexist statements were later more willing to favor a man for a stereotypically male job. In Study 2, participants who first had the opportunity to select a member of a stereotyped group (a woman or an African American) for a category-neutral job were more likely to reject a member of that group for a job stereotypically suited for majority members. In Study 3, participants who had established credentials as nonprejudiced persons revealed a greater willingness to express a politically incorrect opinion even when the audience was unaware of their credentials. The general conditions under which people feel licensed to act on illicit motives are discussed.

PMID:
11474723
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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