Can race be erased? Coalitional Computation and Social Categorization By: Robert Kurzban, John Tooby and Leda Cosmides PowerPoint By: Kate & Marla
Introduction • People encode the race of people they encounter via both automatic and mandatory computational processes – categorizing them by race as a precondition for differential treatment. • The experiments in this study are aimed at showing the process of encoding by race evolved to detect coalitional alliances and such processes are reversible. • With less than 4 minutes exposure to an alternative social world, subjects not only will reduce their racial encoding but some cease all together • Suggesting that, racism may be a volatile and eradicable construct when linked with parallel systems of social alliance.
Predictions • Race will not be equally influential across all social contexts. • People do NOT have to look alike for the formation of coalitions to occur. • Arbitrary cues endowed with the same appearance of racial cues can infer racial alliances. • The strength of racial encoding can be diminished via social context. • Sex will be more influential than race. • Sex will not be an influential factor when forming coalitions even though it is more influential than race itself.
Methodology – Introduction Test • Memory Confusion Protocol • Recalling Errors • No verbal or visual coalition cues present. • Subjects are asked to form impressions of people who they will see conversing with one another. – Rival Basketball Teams • Then are displayed with a sequence of sentences along with a picture of the person who said those sentences. • Picture and corresponding sentences are taken away. • A surprise recall test is then administered.
Experiment One • All speakers were young men, represented by a photo. • They were all dressed completely alike. • Only verbal cues could imply coalition. • “You were the ones that started the fight.” • Race and sex are visible but do not imply coalition in any way. Why did you all do that? You were the ones that started it.
Experiment Two • Identical to experiment one except visual cues were added. • Members who were “grouped” in experiment one, were “grouped” in experiment two. • Yellow and grey shirts separated coalitions. • Could infer coalition status through verbal or visual cues. Why did you all do that? You were the ones that started it.
Results • Experiment One • Even though race was a factor, subjects encoded solely on verbal cues for coalition membership. – Confirming Prediction 2 • Subjects also encoded racial information of targets, forming social categories on this basis. • The effect of race was twice as large as the effect of coalition. • Experiment Two • Visual cues increased encoding accuracy. • Influence of race diminished substantially when visual cues were added. • Visual cues (shirts) were encoded stronger than race. • Overall • Verbal Cues Only = Race encoded stronger. • Visual Cues & Verbal Cues = Coalition encoded stronger.
Experiment 3 & 4 • Methods were identical to experiments 1 & 2 except: • The sex of the targets were varied instead of their race. • Sex – unlike race – is a good candidate for a primary representation that our minds evolved to encode across most if not all dimensions.
Results • Subjects in Exp. 3 & 4 were categorized by coalition as in Exp. 1 & 2. Coalition Effect size: Cuesforracialcoalition:Exp 3 Exp 4 Exp 1 Exp 2 Utterances alone .35 .31 Amplified .81 .79 SEX .91 .84 Amplified .84 • These results contrast with Exp. 2 in that in Exp. 2 sex was always encoded more strongly than coalition.
Discussion • http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yMEXQNvEszA
RACE CAN BE ERASED… Racial tensions as populations merged Present day…