Study Finds That Perceptions of Race Can Be Altered by Cues of Social Status

A new study by researchers at Tufts University, Stanford University, and the University of California at Irvine has found that people’s perception of race can be influenced by cues of social status and what subjects wear.

In an experiment, researchers showed study participants computer images of faces. Images of people wearing business attire were more likely to be recognized as white. Faces of people in attire worn by janitors were more likely to be perceived as black.

Lead author Jonathan B. Freeman, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Tufts University and lead author of the study, states, “The study shows how the perception of race is always a compromise between the visual cues before our eyes and the baggage we bring to the table, like the stereotypes we hold. Racial stereotypes are powerful enough to trickle down to affect even basic visual processing of other people, systematically skewing the way we view our social world.”

Here is a video describing the research:

Changing Race by Changing Clothes from Tufts University on Vimeo.

Related Articles


Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Vanderbilt’s New Center for Research on Inequality and Health

The center’s scholarship aims to deepen society’s understanding of the causes of health-related inequalities, how they intersect, and how they affect population health. The center’s research hopes to formulate potential solutions to these challenges through advocacy, intervention, and public policy.

The Official Poverty Rate for African Americans Is the Lowest in History

The bad news is that In 2022, the Black poverty rate was still more than double to rate for non-Hispanic Whites. In 2022, 22.3 percent of all Black children lived in poverty.

Berenecea Johnson Eanes Will Be the Next President of California State University, Los Angeles

Since 2020, Dr. Eanes has served as president of York College of the City University of New York. She served as vice president for student affairs at California State University, Fullerton from 2012 to 2019. She will begin her new job in January.

Prior to the Pandemic, White Children Were Three Times as Likely to Be Homeschooled Than Black Children

In 2019, Some 4 percent of all White children were homeschooled, compared to 1.2 percent of Black children. Thus, Whites were more than three times as likely as Blacks to be homeschooled. The most commonly reported reasons for homeschooling were concern about the school environment.

Featured Jobs