My culture made me do it: Lay theories of responsibility for automatic prejudice

E. L. UHLMANN, B. Nosek

Social Psychology

2012, vol. 43, n°2, pp.108-113

Departments: Management & Human Resources

Keywords: Judgments of responsibility, Motivated reasoning, Self-affirmation theory, Attributional ambiguity, Cultural socialization, Automaticity, Prejudice, Stereotyping

The present research examined the effects of egocentric motivations on individuals' explanations for how their automatic racial prejudices came into being. The majority of participants reported experiencing biased thoughts, feelings, and gut reactions toward minorities which they found difficult to consciously control, and they attributed such biases to cultural socialization. Of particular interest, ego-threatened participants were significantly more likely to attribute their automatic racial biases to their culture and significantly less likely to attribute such biases to themselves. Results suggest that attributing one's racial biases to cultural socialization can be a defensive, motivated process aimed at diminishing personal responsibility. *Egocentrism; *Motivation; *Prejudice; *Racism; *Responsibility; Judgment; Socialization; Stereotyped Attitudes; Whites