The effect of an overheard ethnic slur on evaluations of the target: How to spread a social disease

Jeff Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

An experiment was conducted to assess the effects of an ethnic slur on evaluations of a targeted minority group member by those who overheard the slur. White subjects plus four confederates participated in a study ostensibly concerned with debating skills. Two of the confederates, one of whom was black, were always picked to engage in a debate which the others were to evaluate. The black debator either won or lost the debate. After the debate, one confederate-evaluator criticized the black in a manner that either did or did not involve an ethnic slur; in a control condition, no such comment was made. Based on the notion that ethnic slurs activate negative schemata regarding members of the targeted minority group, it was predicted that when the black debator lost the debate, the ethnic slur would lead to lower evaluations of his skill. This hypothesis was supported. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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