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Psychol Sci. 2013 Mar 1;24(3):289-96. doi: 10.1177/0956797612451467. Epub 2013 Feb 6.

Facial structure is indicative of explicit support for prejudicial beliefs.

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Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, 6207 Moore Hall, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


We present three studies examining whether male facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) is correlated with racial prejudice and whether observers are sensitive to fWHR when assessing prejudice in other people. Our results indicate that males with a greater fWHR are more likely to explicitly endorse racially prejudicial beliefs, though fWHR was unrelated to implicit bias. Participants evaluated targets with a greater fWHR as more likely to be prejudiced and accurately evaluated the degree to which targets reported prejudicial attitudes. Finally, compared with majority-group members, racial-minority participants reported greater motivation to accurately evaluate prejudice. This motivation mediated the relationship between minority- or majority-group membership and the accuracy of evaluations of prejudice, which indicates that motivation augments sensitivity to fWHR. Together, the results of these three studies demonstrate that fWHR is a reliable indicator of explicitly endorsed racial prejudice and that observers can use fWHR to accurately assess another person's explicit prejudice.

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