Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Television Portrayals, Ethnic Stereotypes and Guilt Ratings

Abstract: An experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that stereotypical television portrayals of African-Americans increase the likelihood that whites will make negative social perception judgments of an African-American (but not a white) target person. Forty white subjects were exposed to comedy skits featuring stereotypical or netural portrayals of African-American characters. Subjects then read a vignette describing an incident in which a college student was allegedly assaulted by his rommate. In half of the conditions, the alleged offender was assumed to be white; in the other half he was assumed to be African-American. 

Subjects rated the likelihood that the alleged offender was guilty of the assault. Guilt ratings of the white target did not differ significantly between the stereotypical and the neutral comedy skit conditions. In contrast, guilt ratings of the African-American target were higher in the stereotypical comedy skit condition than in the neutral comedy skit condition. (Ford, 1997)

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- Ford, T. E. (1997). Effects of Stereotypical Television Portrayals of African-Americans on Person Perception. Social Psychology Quarterly, 60(3), 266-275.
- photograph by Pierre Verger via