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Psychol Sci. 2011 Jul;22(7):860-5. doi: 10.1177/0956797611410985. Epub 2011 Jun 2.

Fertility and intergroup bias in racial and minimal-group contexts: evidence for shared architecture.

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Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48840, USA.


Recent research has shown that White women's bias against Black men increases with elevated fertility across the menstrual cycle. We demonstrate that the association between fertility and intergroup bias is not limited to groups defined by race, but extends to group categories that are minimally defined, and may depend on the extent to which women associate out-group men with physical formidability. In Study 1, Black and White women with strong associations between the racial out-group and physical formidability displayed greater bias against out-group men as conception risk increased. Study 2 replicated these results in a minimal-group paradigm. These findings are consistent with the notion that women may be endowed with a psychological system that generates intergroup bias via mechanisms that rely on categorization heuristics and perceptions of the physical formidability of out-group men, particularly when the costs of sexual coercion are high.

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