Thursday, January 10, 2019

Contrary to our expectations, there is no discernible link between emotions and estimates of minority group percentages, and in some cases, negative emotions reduce misperceptions

Nothing to fear? Anxiety, numeracy, and demographic perceptions. Yamil Ricardo Velez et al. Research & Politics, https://doi.org/10.1177/2053168018794583

Abstract: Studies have found that Americans tend to overestimate the size of minority populations, a pattern that potentially increases antipathy toward racial and ethnic outgroups due to heightened perceptions of intergroup competition. Recent research, however, suggests that providing people with accurate information about racial and ethnic demographics has no discernible impact on intergroup attitudes. In this study, we consider whether anxiety is responsible for overestimates of racial and ethnic groups in the USA. We conduct an experiment where we manipulate anxiety before asking subjects to estimate the size of racial and ethnic groups at the local and national level. Contrary to our expectations, our findings suggest that there is no discernible link between emotions and estimates of minority group percentages, and in some cases, negative emotions reduce misperceptions.

Keywords: Context, emotions, misperceptions