A new study revealed a side effect of current social controversies. By analyzing the stature of both white and black men, people pointed more of the latter as being taller, heavier, and more muscular. However, this was a false impression as both parties had similar physical constructions. The study aimed to explore stereotypes that distort how people perceive a male person for the very first time.
The Study Was Based on Answers from 950 Online Participants
The new study was published on Monday in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology at the American Psychological Association. One of the findings reveals that people judge differently when it comes to ethnicity. Almost all the 950 participants in the study had the false impression that black men were bigger, heavier, taller, and more muscular than white men.
Moreover, when they understood that both parties had similar body formations, they reasserted their beliefs by perceiving black men of being more capable of physical harm. The conclusion goes deeper than this and suggests that people feel that police has more reasons to handle black men with violence even if they have no weapons on them.
“Unarmed black men are disproportionately more likely to be shot and killed by police, and often these killings are accompanied by explanations that cite the physical size of the person shot,” stated John Paul Wilson.
Wilson is a psychologist at Montclair State University in New Jersey and also the author of the research paper.
Pronounced Facial Features Led to a Bigger False Impression
Other findings highlighted specific parts of this distorted image of the members of the society. For instance, while both black and white participants overrated the physical attributes of black men, it was only black participants who did not perceive them as more deserving of the police force.
Moreover, other nuances of the study point out that the darker facial features the men of the study had, the more pronounced the biased opinion was. These features were a darker shade of skin, bigger lips, wider nose, and others. The participants described these persons as larger than other black men but with less pronounced facial features. However, both parties shared many physical similarities which rendered the observation as a false impression.
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