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 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 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 Jonathan W. Kunstman Taylor Tuscherer E. Paige Lloyd 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 Racial bias in pain assessment and treatment recommendations, and false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites Research Black Americans are systematically undertreated for pain relative to white Americans. We examine whether this racial bias is related to false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites (e.g., “black people’s skin is thicker than white people’s skin”). 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.