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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2009 Apr;35(4):463-76. doi: 10.1177/0146167208329856. Epub 2009 Jan 26.

Priming media stereotypes reduces support for social welfare policies: the mediating role of empathy.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC 28403, USA.


Two experiments involving White participants tested the influence of media-based priming of Black stereotypes on support for government policy that assisted Black versus White persons-in-need. Experiment 1 showed that priming the "Black criminal" stereotype through exposure to photographs of Blacks looting after Hurricane Katrina reduced policy support for Black evacuees-in-need but did not influence support responses toward White evacuees-in-need. Experiment 2 showed that priming the "promiscuous Black female" stereotype through exposure to sexual rap music reduced policy support for a Black pregnant woman-in-need but did not influence support responses toward a White pregnant woman-in-need. Further tests of mediated moderation demonstrated that in both experiments, the interactive influence of priming Black stereotypes and race of persons-in-need on policy support was mediated by empathic responding.

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