Suspicion of White People’s Motives Relates to Relative Accuracy in Detecting External Motivation to Respond without Prejudice November 2015 By Sophie TrawalterJennifer LaCosseTaylor TuschererJonathan W. KunstmanE. Ashby PlantBrenda Major Suspicion of White People’s Motives Relates to Relative Accuracy in Detecting External Motivation to Respond without Prejudice Suspicion of White People’s Motives Relates to Relative Accuracy in Detecting External Motivation to Respond without Prejudice As a result of prevalent pressure to inhibit prejudice, racial minorities may wonder whether White people’s nonprejudiced behavior is primarily motivated by personal commitments to egalitarianism (i.e., internal motivation) or superficial efforts to appear nonprejudiced (i.e., external motivation). The present work investigated whether minority group members chronically suspicious of White people’s motives (i.e., those who believe White people are more externally than internally motivated), are more accurate than those who are less suspicious in detecting the motives behind White individuals’ pleasant behavior toward minorities. Minority participants viewed four videos of White targets engaging in dyadic interracial interactions with a Black peer and evaluated the White targets’ motivations. Compared to those low in suspicion, those high in suspicion were more accurate at assessing White targets’ actual levels of external motivation. Hence, suspicion seems to carry some functional benefit as it attunes minority-group members to Whites’ externally motivated positivity. Purchase from ScienceDirect Areas of focus Social Psychology Sophie Trawalter I’m an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Psychology. I study phenomena related to social diversity. Specifically, I examine how people navigate intergroup contact and intergroup contexts. I am especially interested in how people develop competencies and learn to thrive in diverse spaces. Read full bio Jennifer LaCosse Taylor Tuscherer Jonathan W. Kunstman E. Ashby Plant Brenda Major Related Content Sophie Trawalter False beliefs are associated with racial bias in pain assessment and treatment recommendations only among White (not among non-White) medical students and residents Research What Lies Beneath? Minority Group Members’ Suspicion of Whites’ Egalitarian Motivation Predicts Responses to Whites’ Smiles Research Antiprejudice norms and attempts to conceal racial bias have made Whites’ positive treatment of racial minorities attributionally ambiguous. Although some minorities believe Whites’ positivity is genuine, others are suspicious of Whites’ motives and believe their kindness is primarily motivated by desires to avoid appearing prejudiced. Black Americans are Systematically Under-Treated for Pain. Why? News When it comes to the healthcare you receive, the color of your skin can make a significant difference, social psychologist Sophie Trawalter told an online audience last week. Alum in Action: Kathryn Babineau News Batten alum Kathryn Babineau (MPP ’13) is a Ph.D. student in the University of Virginia's sociology department, where she studies globalization, labor rights, and public and private regulation. Previously, she worked as a human rights investigator for the Fair Food Standards Council and as a research coordinator at National Defense University.