Favorable Evaluations of Blacks and the Handicapped: Positive Prejudice, Unconscious Denial, or Social Desirability?

Charles S Carver, David C. Glass, Irwin Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Prior research has shown that subjects in an impression formation setting rated an interviewee more favorably if he was labeled as either black or physically handicapped than if he was not labeled. This seems to contradict common assumptions about the nature of stigma. Three interpretations of these findings are advanced: They may reflect actual positive biases held by college students regarding members of these outgroups; they may represent unconscious distortions of subjects' true feelings; or they may represent conscious distortions of true feelings in order to make socially desirable responses. The present study was undertaken to test the third possibility by means of a so‐called bogus pipeline manipulation, in which some subjects were led to believe that the experimenter had access to their actual feelings about the interviewee. The results indicated that the high rating of the black was a social desirability phenomenon, but the high rating of the handicapped person was not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-106
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1978


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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