International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 7 Num. 2 - July 2007


Racial Prejudice, Intergroup Hate, and Blatant and Subtle Bias of Whites toward Blacks in Legal Decision Making in the United States [Prejuicio Racial, Odio Intergrupal, y Prejuicio Evidente y Sutil de Blancos Hacia Negros en el Proceso de Toma de Decisiones Legales en los Estados Unidos]

Volume 7 Num. 2 - July 2007 - Pages 145-158


Adam R. Pearson, John F. Dovidio and Felicia Pratto


The present study examined the multidimensional nature of intergroup hate and the potential roles of hate and prejudice in expressions of White Americans? treatment of Blacks within the context of the U.S. legal system. White participants in the U.S. read about a provoked or unprovoked violent assault perpetrated by a Black assailant on a White victim. Emotional reactions and recommendations for punishment (prescribed sentencing and support for the death penalty) were assessed. Supportive of Sternberg?s (2003) duplex model of hate, we found that explicit (self-reported) hate reflected separate components of negation of intimacy (e.g., disgust and repulsion), passion (anger and fear), and devaluation/commitment (e.g., attributions of evil and inhuman); these components, in turn, differentially mediated punitiveness toward the assailant. The results also revealed that although the direct effect of prejudice on retribution was mediated by self-reported hate, more subtle and indirect effects occurred independently of hate or its affective components. Practical and theoretical implications of these findings for biased decision making in legal contexts are considered.

Key words:

Blatant bias, Hate, Racial prejudice, Sternberg?s duplex model of hate

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