Dark faces in white spaces: The effects of skin tone, race, ethnicity, and intergroup preferences on interpersonal judgments and voting behavior
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
Across three experimental studies, we explored how a political candidate's intersections of skin tone, race, and ethnicity affect voting preferences and interpersonal judgments (e.g., warmth, trustworthiness, expertise). Study 1 assessed whether White participants would favor a lightskinned (vs. dark-skinned) African American candidate. Study 2 investigated participant (White vs. non-White) voting preferences based on the interaction between candidate race/ethnicity and relative skin tone
... er vs. darker). In Study 3, we examined the influence of candidate race/ethnicity on voters' preferences as well as the accuracy and impact of memory for candidate skin tone. Supporting our hypotheses, White participants generally held more negative attitudes (e.g., expressed less warmth, perceived candidates as less trustworthy) and were less likely to vote for underrepresented candidates with darker skin tones than non-White participants were. Additionally, voters remembered politicians as having a lighter skin tone, and the extent of such bias predicted warmth, perceived trustworthiness, and expertise of the candidate. While candidate race/ethnicity on its own did not affect voting preferences and attitudes, it significantly influenced voters when race/ethnicity was associated with certain skin tones This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.