Black + White = Not White: A minority bias in categorizations of Black-White multiracials

Jacqueline M. Chen, Kristin Pauker, Sarah E. Gaither, David L. Hamilton, Jeffrey Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The present research sought to provide new insights on the principles guiding the categorization of Black-White multiracial faces at a first encounter. Previous studies have typically measured categorization of multiracial faces using close-ended tasks that constrain available categorizations. Those studies find evidence that perceivers tend to categorize multiracials as Black more often than as White. Two studies used less constrained, implicit (Experiment 1) and explicit categorization (Experiment 2) tasks and found that multiracial faces were most frequently categorized into racial minority groups but not necessarily as Black. These studies suggested a minority bias in multiracial categorizations, whereby multiracials are more frequently categorized as non-White than as White. Experiment 3 provided additional support for the minority bias, showing that participants categorized multiracials as “Not White” more often than as any other category. Participants were also faster to exclude multiracial faces from the White category than from any other racial category. Together, these findings are the first to document the minority bias as a guiding principle in multiracial categorization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-54
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Hypodescent
  • Multiracial
  • Person perception
  • Racial categorization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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