Tight Times May Influence How We Perceive Others

Medical Xpress, November 28, 2012

From the playground to the office, a key aspect of our social lives involves figuring out who “belongs” and who doesn’t. Our biases lead us—whether we’re aware of it or not—to favor people who belong to our own social group. Scientists theorize that these prevalent in-group biases may give us a competitive advantage against others, especially when important resources are limited.

Psychological scientist Christopher Rodeheffer and his colleagues at Texas Christian University wanted to examine whether resource scarcity might actually lead us to change our definition of who belongs to our social group. Their new research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

One way of defining an in-group is according to outward appearance. Rodeheffer and colleagues hypothesized that people exposed to situations of scarcity would narrow their definition of who “belongs” and would be less likely to categorize a racially ambiguous face as part of their racial in-group.

In their first experiment, the researchers asked 71 White college students to look at captioned pictures that depicted instances in which resources were scarce (e.g., a picture of an empty office with captions about a shortage of good jobs) or abundant (e.g., a picture of a thriving office with captions about there being plenty of good jobs).

Rodeheffer and his colleagues created a series of biracial faces by averaging one White and one Black face using a face-averaging software program. They asked the participants to look at the biracial faces and categorize each face as either Black or White.

The findings showed that students who had looked at pictures depicting scarce resources were more likely to categorize the faces as Black than students who had seen the pictures of abundant resources.

These results were confirmed in a second experiment that used a verbal priming procedure in which the students were primed to think about resource scarcity or abundance by completing analogy problems.

According to the researchers, these findings suggest that “times of economic hardship may limit the inclusiveness of people’s racial in-groups.”

Rodeheffer and his colleagues note that future studies should examine whether the effects of resource availability cues on racial categorization are observed for participants of other races to ensure that the results are applicable across racial groups.

[Editor’s Note: The full first page of the study is available here.]

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  • NYB

    Stop the presses! People are hard-wired to default to their own genetic survival – who’d have guessed?

    It is with amusement that I observe the contemporary mainstream sciences ‘discovering’ what our much wiser ancestors were innately aware of.

    The only question is, when will they begin to seriously deconstruct the academic brainwashing which characterized the latter 20th century?

    • i am

      But why are some whites hardwired to commit racial suicide?

      • NYB

        They aren’t. Their born instincts are being over-ridden by the barrage of propaganda coming from the biased news media, from entertainment, from religious leaders, from institutions of learning, and from their government.

        They need the truth to set them free.

        • me

          And all you have to do is follow the money….

        • David Ashton

          Agreed. The rare capacity of empathy among whites and of guilt among northern Protestants may be hardwired, but can be redirected. What we must not do is believe our death is inevitable.

        • carocaput

          People know the truth, but unfortunately the bread is buttered on the other side. Or so they think!

  • “Tight Times May Influence How We Perceive Others”
    no sh*t dick tracey!!!

  • pcmustgo

    Def…. always has…

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    “…these findings suggest that times of economic hardship may limit the inclusiveness of people’s racial in-groups.”


    Presumably, all of pre-history — as well as most history— were times of perpetual “economic hardship.” As resource scarcity was the norm, so was inter-group competition for limited resources. Jonathan Haidt is a prominent social psychologist at the University of Virginia:

    “In my book I explain why you need to see evolution working on multiple levels: Genes compete with genes. Individuals compete with individuals. And groups compete with groups.

    “. . . But the idea that groups compete with groups and that we are descended from winning groups, that has been a heresy in scientific circles since the 1960s so very few evolutionary theorists will talk about that.”

    (Jonathan Haidt, BookTV.org presentation of The Righteous Mind, March 21, 2012; the exchange occurs between 1:02:45 and 1:04:40 on the video):

    But not heresy for E. O. Wilson, two-time Pulitizer Prize-winning sociobiologist. Here Wilson explains man’s capacity for violence toward “out-groups”:

    “Darwin in the DESCENT OF MAN probably had close to the right answer . . . He said that human evolution was driven in substantial part by group selection, that is, group versus group, inter-group competition, one group — tribe, clan, whatever it was — acting aggressively toward others, defending territory, acquiring territory, dominating if they can, enslaving if that’s possible.”

    E. O. WILSON featured on In-Depth, BookTV.org, August 5, 2007:
    Watch 3-hour interview:

    • C_C_Conrad

      “…these findings suggest that times of economic hardship may limit the inclusiveness of people’s racial in-groups.”

      Like I’ve said before, things need to get much worse before they can get better.

      Jack’s War

  • Smedley Butler

    Whites tend to be as extremely lacking in deciding the racial stock of a white man as they are to learn the constitution.

    Even educators among WASPS posessed a similar ignorance in assuming that english slave descendents could somehow be educated to have an affinity for the British crown.

    Aside from common ignorance exists a self-righteousness about being right when obviously wrong on almost any learned topic.

    These flaws in white behavior have existed before the time of Jesus and have only improved with time and technology and not by self-education.

    That is a reason why the proponents of marxism are able to exploit whites to their advantage.

  • RisingReich

    Cliff note version – see Greece 2013.

  • IKantunderstand

    Gimme a break, you all don’t care what other races think, or do, or whatever. White people are selfish and only care for themselves. And, by the way, this study is full of crap. There is no way in hell, that any White student would ever view a bi-racial child and describe it as anything but Black.

    • kjh64

      “Gimme a break, you all don’t care what other races think, or do, or whatever. White people are selfish and only care for themselves. ”
      What planet are you living on? White people today are spineless wimps who are so afraid of being called a “raaaycist” that they let non-Whites walk all over them. Whites are giving America away to Mexico and non-American Whites are letting 3rd worlders pour into their countries for a “better life”. As far as selfish, no it’s not Whites that are selfish. Quite the opposite, Whites give too much. We’re always giving to Africa, helping 3rd world countries, spending billions of our hard earned money on dysfunctional minorities. You almost never see African-Americans helping Blacks in Africa, or Mexicans or Asians. It’s always Whites, yet WE are the ones who are called selfish and racist. It’s Blacks, Mexicans and their entitlement mentality that are selfish. They feel Whites OWE them everything from welfare to our country and try every guilt trip to manipulate Whites into getting what they want ie. more welfare, amesty for Mexicans etc.
      PS-Since we Whites are always accused of being racist or selfish, I have decided as of last year to be just that, just like non-Whites are. If I give to charity, it will only be to Whites, no more helping the little starving kids in Africa. Let the African-Americans help them. Now they’re advertising for people to donate a coat for “Coats for Kids”. I call if “Coats for Mexican kids”. Nope, not going to. If the Mexicans won’t control their birthrates, let THEIR people donate the coats. It’s time we Whites stopped giving to a bunch of ingrates who call us racist and selfish, no matter how much we give.

      • gemjunior

        Last night in Target, in the span of 1/2 hour I saw a Chinese girl with a bantu, a fat white girl with a bantu, and a hispanic (but not negroid more on the white side) with a black man. I live in a very white area but this mall is large enough that others come there from their towns. Still, it was unsettling and gross.

        • i am

          About a month ago I was walking up to an auto parts store when a nice looking young white girl walked out. As she let go of the door a large fat ugly black guy behind her carrying a box of parts said “thanks a lot b**ch.” I was surprised and was about to say something when she started to apologize to him. He kept calling her names, then she opened up her trunk and the guy put his stuff in her car. He got in the car with her and drove off, all the while calling her names. She was definitely his girl friend. These woman love to be treated like garbage by black men.

          • David Ashton

            She may well learn the hard way in due course.

  • William Allingham

    we associate black people with scarcity the same way we associate rabbits with long ears

  • This “study” is just a fancy way of stating the old leftist canard that white nationalism is for losers. Therefore, I suspect they started with the conclusion, not concluded with the conclusion.

  • me

    Does anyone remember the TIMES issue that showed an adorable little White baby on the cover, with the stupid headline; “Is Your Baby Racist?” Whites ‘apparently’ are the only group that are capable of being ‘racist’, according to our monopolized media–a word that’s surely losing its intimidation factor from overuse, hyperbole, and downright lies. Well, you can’t fool Mother Nature….or force people to assimilate. I don’t see those ‘racist’ countries of Japan, China, Israel, or Mexico allowing third world mass migration into their home countries…so why are we, again? Oh, yes….so we won’t be labeled (gasp)’racist’. LOL! (I’ve been called worse in my day.)


    So why did a lot of white voters put obama in office instead of one of their own, especially in this time of resource [jobs] shortages?

  • StillModerated

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.

    Thomas Jefferson