Publication Date

April 2015


Clara Wilkins




English (United States)


I investigated how individuals react to romantic interracial couples by asking participants recruited on Mechanical Turk to reveal their warmth toward pairs in two studies. In Study 1, participants indicated their warmth toward a specific pictured interracial couple. In Study 2, participants reported how they generally felt toward monoracial and interracial couples: an all-Black pair, all-White pair, Black male-White female couple, and a White male-Black female couple. I assessed four hypotheses. According to the exposure hypothesis, Black male-White female couples should be evaluated most positively due to their high intermarriage rate (Fryer, 2007) and the mere exposure effect (Zajonc, 2001). The competition hypothesis suggests Black women will indicate the lowest warmth toward Black male-White female couples due to perceptions that dateable Black men are a scare resource. The dominance hypothesis predicts White men will report the least warmth toward Black male-White female interracial couples due to the threat this couple posses to their supremacy (Ferber, 1998). Lastly, the self-presentation hypothesis predicts that White women are particularly concerned about appearing biased and thus, will evaluate all Black-White interracial couples especially highly. When participants thought about romantic couples in general, results supported both the competition and dominance hypotheses. When participants thought about a specific pair and about couples in general, results supported the self-presentation hypothesis. These findings demonstrate that certain relationships between Blacks and Whites are especially troubling to particular demographics and suggest potential roots of specific prejudices.

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