A social psychology lab examining how interpersonal interactions translate culturally held prejudices into individual thoughts and actions.
Social Tuning of Automatic Racial Attitudes: The Role of Affiliative Motivation
Sinclair, S., Huntsinger, J., Skorinko, J. & Hardin, C.D. (2005). Social tuning of the self: Consequences for the self-evaluations of stereotype targets. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 160 – 175.
Consistent with the affiliative social tuning hypothesis, this study showed that the desire to get along with another person shifted participants’ automatic attitudes toward the ostensible attitudes of that person. In Experiment 1, the automatic racial attitudes of women but not men emulated those of an experimenter displaying race-egalitarian attitudes or attitudes neutral with respect to race. Mediational analysis revealed that the gender difference in social tuning was mediated by liking for the experimenter. In Experiment 2, the likability of the experimenter was manipulated. Individuals who interacted with a likable experimenter exhibited social tuning more so than did those who interacted with a rude experimenter. These findings suggest that affiliative motives may elicit malleability of automatic attitudes independent of manipulations of social group exemplars.