Consider the following scenario: A job applicant sits face-to-face with her male interviewer, anxiously wondering whether he will hire her as an engineer. Past research suggests that, in this situation, the interviewer will categorize the applicant as a woman, activate stereotypes about poor math ability, and make the stereotype-consistent decision to reject the applicant as a poor "fit" for the position.
Our research extends previous research by addressing questions at the edge of a new frontier in social psychology.
We aim to understand - from both targets' and perceivers' perspectives - how one identity (e.g., race) may affect how individuals use stereotypes about another identity (e.g., gender) during person perception. In the scenario described above, for example, it is likely that the interviewer's decision will be affected by the applicant's gender, race and age.
We examine a variety of stigmas, exploring how people express and experience racism, sexism, ageism and anti-gay bias under conditions reflecting the complexities of real-world person perception.
The Target's Perspective
In one line of work, we explore how targets with multiple stigmatized identities experience multiple forms of prejudice. Past research examined how stigmatized people experience only one form of prejudice (e.g., sexism in women, racism in people of color) and assumed that different forms of prejudice are experienced in similar ways. By contrast, we have directly compared, and discovered differences in, how stigmatized group members experience different forms of prejudice. For example, we showed that Asian women randomly assigned to contemplate either racism or sexism were more likely to make internal attributions, and to feel depressed about racism relative to sexism (Remedios, Chasteen, & Paek, 2012).
The Perceiver's Perspective
In the second line of work, we explore how people with more than one stigmatized group membership are perceived by others. We have shown, for example, that less visible categories, like sexual orientation, influence the meaning of more visible categories, like race, and shape whether targets are appraised as likable (Remedios, Chasteen, Rule, & Plaks, 2011). We have also examined how stereotypes affect judgments about individuals who are members of multiple racial groups. For example, we have shown that participants rate Black/White biracial job applicants as less socially skilled and as more likely to have demonstrated poor interpersonal skills during an interview than Black job candidates (Remedios, Chasteen, & Oey, 2012).