Poster Title

Miguel seems Scarier than Steve, but Only if You Meet Him in an Alley: Effects of Ethnicity and Locale on Perceived Dangerousness

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

Abstract

This research investigated how dangerous a person seems. Hispanic targets might be judged more dangerous than Caucasian targets, depending on whether the setting encourages the application of the stereotype. Participants read about a 29-year-old man with a briefcase who was either standing in an alley or sitting on a park bench. The target’s name was Caucasian (Steve Jones) or Hispanic (Miguel Rodriguez). Participants indicated how approachable the man was, how comfortable they would be helping him with directions, and how dangerous he seemed, on 7-point scales. Higher numbers indicated less approachable, less comfortable, and more dangerous, respectively. The three dependent variables were correlated (rs of .63, .46, and .53, all ps=.001). These DVs were summed to create a perceived dangerousness index. A 2 (Ethnicity: Caucasian, Hispanic) X 2 (Locale: alley, park bench) ANOVA revealed a marginally significant interaction, F(1,90)=3.73, p=.056. Whereas perceived dangerousness was similar for the Hispanic (M=8.39) and Caucasian (M=8.74) targets when on a park bench, F<1, the Hispanic target (M=12.29) was judged to be more dangerous than the Caucasian target (M=10.54) when in an alley, F(1,46)=4.37, p=.042. Whether or not a stereotype is applied may depend not only on the target's ethnicity, but also on whether the setting is consistent or inconsistent with the stereotype.

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Miguel seems Scarier than Steve, but Only if You Meet Him in an Alley: Effects of Ethnicity and Locale on Perceived Dangerousness

This research investigated how dangerous a person seems. Hispanic targets might be judged more dangerous than Caucasian targets, depending on whether the setting encourages the application of the stereotype. Participants read about a 29-year-old man with a briefcase who was either standing in an alley or sitting on a park bench. The target’s name was Caucasian (Steve Jones) or Hispanic (Miguel Rodriguez). Participants indicated how approachable the man was, how comfortable they would be helping him with directions, and how dangerous he seemed, on 7-point scales. Higher numbers indicated less approachable, less comfortable, and more dangerous, respectively. The three dependent variables were correlated (rs of .63, .46, and .53, all ps=.001). These DVs were summed to create a perceived dangerousness index. A 2 (Ethnicity: Caucasian, Hispanic) X 2 (Locale: alley, park bench) ANOVA revealed a marginally significant interaction, F(1,90)=3.73, p=.056. Whereas perceived dangerousness was similar for the Hispanic (M=8.39) and Caucasian (M=8.74) targets when on a park bench, F<1, the Hispanic target (M=12.29) was judged to be more dangerous than the Caucasian target (M=10.54) when in an alley, F(1,46)=4.37, p=.042. Whether or not a stereotype is applied may depend not only on the target's ethnicity, but also on whether the setting is consistent or inconsistent with the stereotype.