New UVa Study Takes a Look How Americans Favor Race, Religion and Age

August 11, 2014

We live in a very diverse society, where people from all nationalities, religions and ages are intertwined.

However, a new study at the University of Virginia is showing that people may not be as comfortable with the great American melting pot as we would want to believe.

“So what we found is that people did favor their own group the most, but then their evaluations of other groups sort of follow along how well that group is held in status in our culture,” says Jordan Axt, Ph.D. student at UVa, who helped put the study together.

One portion of the study looked at how quickly people responded to different faces of Hispanic, Asian, White and Black people that were paired with positive or negative words.

“We used this test to infer how strongly certain concepts are held in memory,” says Axt. “So if it is easy to pair say white faces and good words together and very fast to pair black faces and bad words together, we can kind of infer from that when you are speeding up that's because those two ideas are associated strongly in your memory.”

“it is unsettling that there are implicit unconscious attitudes that are different from what you feel explicitly.”

The results showed Americans favored Whites, Christians and Children, which was not too surprising some.

“I think there is an idea as to what people see as a friendly American and what they feel comfortable around,” says Angel Feero, a Charlottesville resident who grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. “To hear that it would be white people and Christians and children, those are historically things that seem to be non-threatening to a lot of people.”

“We're all the same on the inside and people shouldn't be judged by their race obviously,” says Elijah Gabel. “We're all the same, we're all human beings just trying to get along and that is surprising to me.”

Following Whites on the list in the race category were Asians, Blacks and Hispanics. For religion Christianity was followed by Judaism, Hinduism and Islam. Age went from youngest to oldest.
If you want to check out the questions asked in the study you can click on the links underneath the article photo.


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