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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1976 Oct;34(4):590-8.

Differential social perception and attribution of intergroup violence: testing the lower limits of sterotyping of blacks.


In a modified 4 X 4 factorial design with race (black-white) of the harm-doer and race (black-white) of the victim as the major factors, the phenomenon of differential social perception of intergroup violence was established. While subjects, observing a videotape of purported ongoing ineraction occuring in another room, labeled an act (ambiguous shove) as more violent when it was performed by a black than when the same act was perpetrated by a white. That is, the concept of violence was more accessible when viewing a black than when viewing a white committing the same act. Causal attributions were also found to be divergent. Situation attributions were preferred when the harm-doer was white, and person (dispositional) attributions were preferred in the black-protagonist conditions. The results are discussed in terms of perceptual threshold, sterotypy, and attributional biases.

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