When race and gender go without saying

Pratto, F.; Korchmaros, J. D and Hegarty, P. (2007). When race and gender go without saying. Social Cognition, 25(2) 221 - 247.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2007.25.2.221


We hypothesize that people fail to designate typical race and gender features because of communication pragmatics and because people assume that their category norms-their implicit sense of which features are typical or atypical of a category-are shared. In Experiment 1, participants wrote what made celebrities typical or not typical of their occupations. Participants almost never designated typical race and gender when instructed to describe how celebrities were typical, although they often designated atypical features when instructed to say how celebrities were not typical. Experiment 2 showed that verbal designation of race and gender occurs most when features are either atypical or are unshared with one's communication partner, and that designating atypical features under such circumstances facilitates communication. Experiment 3 showed that the common ground goal determines the higher rate of designating atypical than typical race and gender features. Implications for the communication of bias are discussed.

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