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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 Jun;94(6):1033-47. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.94.6.1033.

Biological conceptions of race and the motivation to cross racial boundaries.

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Department of Psychology, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


The present studies demonstrate that conceiving of racial group membership as biologically determined increases acceptance of racial inequities (Studies 1 and 2) and cools interest in interacting with racial outgroup members (Studies 3-5). These effects were generally independent of racial prejudice. It is argued that when race is cast as a biological marker of individuals, people perceive racial outgroup members as unrelated to the self and therefore unworthy of attention and affiliation. Biological conceptions of race therefore provide justification for a racially inequitable status quo and for the continued social marginalization of historically disadvantaged groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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