What Lies Beneath? Minority Group Members’ Suspicion of Whites’ Egalitarian Motivation Predicts Responses to Whites’ Smiles Jun 22, 2016 By Sophie TrawalterJonathan W. KunstmanTaylor TuschererE. Paige Lloyd What Lies Beneath? Minority Group Members’ Suspicion of Whites’ Egalitarian Motivation Predicts Responses to Whites’ Smiles 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. For those suspicious of Whites’ motives, Whites’ smiles may paradoxically function as threat cues. To the extent that Whites’ smiles cue threat among suspicious minorities, we hypothesized that suspicious minorities would explicitly perceive Whites’ smiles as threatening (Study 1), automatically orient to smiling White—as opposed to smiling Black—targets (Study 2), and accurately discriminate between Whites’ real and fake smiles (Study 3). These results provide convergent evidence that cues typically associated with acceptance and affiliation ironically function as threat cues among suspicious racial minorities. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin Areas of focus Social Psychology Sophie Trawalter Sophie Trawalter, Batten Family Bicentennial Teacher-Scholar Leadership Professor of Public Policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, studies phenomena related to social diversity, specifically how people navigate intergroup contact and intergroup contexts, with a particular focus on how people develop competencies and learn to thrive in diverse spaces. Read full bio Jonathan W. Kunstman Taylor Tuscherer E. Paige Lloyd Related Content Sophie Trawalter Gender Differences in Law School Classroom Participation: The Key Role of Social Context Research Even though women make up roughly half of the students enrolled in law school today, they do not take up roughly half of the speaking time in law school classes. We found that women, more than men, report backlash for speaking in class, and this difference affects their willingness to participate in the law school classroom. Racial Bias in Perceptions of Disease and Policy Research Narratives about Africa as dark, depraved, and diseased justified the exploitation of African land and people. Today, these narratives may still have a hold on people’s fears about disease. This group of scholars conducts tests and studies that, when taken together, make clear that reactions to pandemics are biased, and in a way consistent with historical narratives about race and Africa. Professors Chou and Trawalter Announced as Inaugural Batten Family Bicentennial Teacher-Scholar Leadership Professors News The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia announces the appointment of Eileen Chou and Sophie Trawalter as inaugural Batten Family Bicentennial Teacher-Scholar Leadership Professors. Batten Faculty Recognized for Excellence in Teaching, Service, Research and Engagement News This academic year, Batten School professors won a slew of internal and external recognitions for excellence in teaching, service, research and engagement.