Article

Who is the fairest of them all? Race, attractiveness and skin color sexual dimorphism

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

Previous research has suggested that perceived attractiveness and personality are affected by the race such that White faces are more attractive but less masculine than Black faces. Such studies, however, have been based on very small stimulus sets. The current study investigated perceived attractiveness and personality for 600 Black, White and mixed-race faces. Many of the investigated personality traits were correlated with race when rated by White participants. Attractiveness specifically was greater for Black male faces than White male faces and among mixed-race faces. Blackness correlated with increased attractiveness. A reverse pattern was found for female faces with Whiteness being associated with attractiveness. The results are discussed in terms of the sexual dimorphism demonstrated in skin color.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... Men tend to have a darker complexion than women do (van den Berghe & Frost, 1986). The sexual dimorphism hypothesis suggests that women with light skin tone are perceived as more attractive than women with dark skin tone, whereas the opposite is true for men (Lewis, 2011). Because Black men, on average, have a darker skin tone than White men do, they are perceived as more attractive. ...
... Such faces were perceived as mixed-race faces; the racial typicality ratings of 4.71 and 3.65 ratings, respectively, were closest to the midpoint on the racial typicality scale. Hence, these findings are consistent with our hypothesis and some of the previous work indicating that mixedrace faces are perceived as more attractive than either Black faces (Lewis, 2011) or single-race faces of different races ). Yet, White faces of Eurocentric physiognomy with light skin tone were also rated as highly attractive by our study participants, in line with some of the previous research reviewed ( Burke et al., 2013). ...
... Some authors (Lewis, 2011) argue that dark skin tone is the main contributor to high attractiveness ratings in Black males, citing the concept of sexual dimorphism. Our work allowed us to disambiguate the role of skin tone. ...
Article
Participants rated the attractiveness and racial typicality of male faces varying in their facial features from Afrocentric to Eurocentric and in skin tone from dark to light in two experiments. Experiment 1 provided evidence that facial features and skin tone have an interactive effect on perceptions of attractiveness and mixed-race faces are perceived as more attractive than single-race faces. Experiment 2 further confirmed that faces with medium levels of skin tone and facial features are perceived as more attractive than faces with extreme levels of these factors. Black phenotypes (combinations of dark skin tone and Afrocentric facial features) were rated as more attractive than White phenotypes (combinations of light skin tone and Eurocentric facial features); ambiguous faces (combinations of Afrocentric and Eurocentric physiognomy) with medium levels of skin tone were rated as the most attractive in Experiment 2. Perceptions of attractiveness were relatively independent of racial categorization in both experiments.
... Appearance also gives women an idea about men's potential parental investment. Characteristics such as sexual maturity, masculinity, dominance, health, warmth, and social competence can be inferred from faces, for example through a square jaw or prominent forehead (Lewis, 2011;Wade, Irvine, & Cooper, 2004). ...
... The phenomenon that women prefer African American men while men find East Asian women more attractive has been reported before (King, 2013;Brack & Zhang, 2007) and could be due to perceived levels of masculinity and femininity. Indeed, the second experiment by Burke et al. (2013) found that the same African American faces were rated higher on masculinity and the East Asian faces were rated higher on femininity (see also Lewis, 2011;Wade et al., 2004). ...
... Overall, men rated faces higher than women. This may not only have been the result of rating different faces, but also due to women being more likely to consider characteristics other (Lewis, 2011). Men might be less picky because their role is to maximise reproductive success, whereas women have to be more selective to choose a mate that will be likely to care for them and their offspring. ...
Full-text available
Thesis
Familiarity increases attraction amongst people. This can explain that people find composites of multiple faces particularly attractive, self-referent phenotype matching, and a preference for own-race mates. Given that places are increasingly more inhabited by people of different races and that interracial relationships are becoming more common, it was expected that greater familiarity with another race would reduce the cross-race effect and increase attraction to members of that race. I conducted an online survey asking heterosexual Caucasians who had experienced varying levels of exposure to East Asians to rate Caucasian and East Asian faces. They were also asked to rate Indian and African American faces which were included as misdirects. The findings showed a significant increase in attractiveness ratings for East Asians at a certain degree of familiarity for all participants and men, but not for women. Men gave higher attractiveness ratings in general whilst women appeared to be more critical in their judgements, whichcould be attributed to parental investment theory.Participants displayed an own-race bias due to giving Caucasians higher and less homogeneous ratings. A reduced cross-race effect led to higher and more variable ratings for East Asians. The participants’ attitudes towards East Asians also proved to affect attractiveness ratings. I concluded that exposure increased attraction to East Asians due to decreasing the cross-race effect and increasing positive attitudes.
... -858- relative to single-race faces. In two separate studies, Lewis (2010 Lewis ( , 2011) found that " Mixed " race faces were rated as more attractive than either " Black " or " White " faces (although this only held for female faces in the 2011 paper). These studies used a high number of judged faces, but they were taken from facebook pages, and so varied (possibly systematically) in lighting, camera angle, hair-style, jewelry, etc, and were defined as being representatives of particular races only by membership of British race-relevant facebook groups. ...
... It is also true that while the subset of female African faces we had rated in Experiment 2 were judged to be on lower in femininity than were the Caucasian and Asian faces, and African female faces were also judged to be lower in attractiveness in Experiment 1, these judgments came from different raters, and so it is impossible to be sure that the variation in ratings of perceived attractiveness in Experiment 1 was driven by variation in perceived femininity. Another dimorphic feature that may underpin part of the lower ratings for the female African faces (but increase those for male African faces) is that adult males on average have darker skin than females, and that this affects attractiveness judgments (van den Berghe and Frost, 1986; Lewis, 2011). Obviously skin color dimorphism alone is not the only factor that matters, or all of our participants would have rated European female faces as most attractive (which they did not always do), and European male faces as least attractive (which they never did), but this factor is likely to have interacted with other factors to produce the patterns we found. ...
Full-text available
Article
Even in multicultural nations interracial relationships and marriages are quite rare, one reflection of assortative mating. A relatively unexplored factor that could explain part of this effect is that people may find members of their own racial group more attractive than members of other groups. We tested whether there is an own-race preference in attractiveness judgments, and also examined the effect of familiarity by comparing the attractiveness ratings given by participants of different ancestral and geographic origins to faces of European, East Asian and African origin. We did not find a strong own-race bias in attractiveness judgments, but neither were the data consistent with familiarity, suggesting an important role for other factors determining the patterns of assortative mating observed.
... In an early study, Benson et al. (1976) discovered a racial bias implying that attractive and white individuals receive more help than those who are unattractive and non-white. While there are a few studies with inconsistent findings (e.g., Lewis, 2011), 10 a large majority of studies examining the relationship between skin color and attractiveness indicate a bias in favor of white Caucasians. Many studies have found predominantly white faces are viewed as being more attractive (e.g., Wade et al., 2004;Kramer et al., 2013). ...
Full-text available
Preprint
Despite an extensive body of research indicating multifaceted advantages for employees deemed physically attractive, factors that limit or even negate the attractiveness premium have not been sufficiently investigated. In this paper, we are particularly interested in whether a rich set of physical appearance factors matter when performance information is transparently available, rather than – as is mostly the case in the labor force – imperfect or costly to obtain. To this end, we explore the labor market of professional football players in one of the world’s most prestigious football leagues, namely the German Bundesliga. We investigate whether a rich set of physical appearance factors (including facial symmetry, facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR), body gestalt, and ethnic markers) matter in the players’ chance of being nominated or receiving the prestigious award of Player of the Month. This study offers a unique opportunity to explore selection heuristics among team captains who are responsible for the nomination of the players, and the public who votes on the three top selections by captains. Our results indicate that individual and team performance tend to be a stronger driver of award success than physical appearance. Interestingly, performance can moderate some physical appearance factors and some positive assortative effects between captains and players along physical appearance is observed (captains with higher fWHR scores are more likely to nominate players who also have higher fWHR scores). In general, heuristics for captains are easier to identify empirically than for the public. We also find some differences; for example, only the public demonstrates a bias towards domestic players.
... Within levels of skin tone, none of the sex differences were significant (ps > .057). The preference for men with medium skin could be explained by evolutionary pressures to mate with the most genetically fit partners (Lewis, 2010(Lewis, , 2011. Medium skin tone serves as an indicator that an individual possesses genetic material from two distinct populations (dark and light) and thus, is more genetically fit. ...
Article
In two studies, participants completed an implicit attractiveness task with faces as primes varying on (a) facial features from Afrocentric to Eurocentric and (b) skin tone from dark to light, and target pictures of environmental scenes varying in attractiveness. On each trial, participants were briefly primed with a face. Next, they categorized a target picture as either attractive or unattractive as quickly as possible. In addition, in Study 2, participants rated the same faces on an attractiveness scale. While results of Study 1 showed that when faces were medium in skin tone, participants were more accurate when primed with a Eurocentric face responding to attractive targets, but also more accurate when primed with an Afrocentric face responding to unattractive targets, a more powerful Study 2 failed to replicate this effect. There was no relationship between participants’ explicit ratings of attractiveness and accuracy rates in the implicit attractiveness task.
... This implies that the fair skin and smooth complexions of these young models are presented as more attractive. According to Lewis (2011), "women under the age of 30 and with lighter skin tones are perceived as more attractive". Thus, women will remain youthful if they take care of their skin to become spotless, bright, and smooth. ...
Article
Human skin color ranges from the darkest to the lightest. However, the culture and the power of media, especially advertisements, convince all women to embrace fair skin as the idealized self. This study aims to find how fair skin is represented in the selected eight Unilever’s skin-whitening advertisements and how this representation reflects consumerism. In conducting this study, I used the theory of representation and consumerism to find the symbolic meanings of consumerism. The finding showed that there were two meanings that are represented by the skin-whitening advertisements, such as youthfulness and success. In conclusion, those eight skin-whitening products were sold not just as products, but also as their symbolic meanings that lead women to youthfulness and success.Keywords: fair skin, skin-whitening advertisements, meanings, youthfulness, success, consumerism
... One might ask why the videos only featured Caucasian actors. This was done to limit potential experimental noise driven by people's racial attitudes as well as differential attractiveness ratings based on target race (e.g.,Lewis, 2011). ...
Article
At least two factors may influence reactions to public displays of affection (PDA): personal level of comfort with PDA and attitudes toward sexual minorities. In three studies, we measured participants’ reactions to videotaped heterosexual, homosexual, and transgender PDA. A measure was created to evaluate comfort with PDA. Across all studies, we found that comfort with PDA predicted participant reactions toward PDA. We also found that participants were generally comfortable with viewing all PDA scenarios, but participants were most comfortable viewing heterosexual PDA and least comfortable viewing transgender PDA. Finally, we found that multiple measures of homophobic attitudes predicted reactions to PDA featuring sexual minorities.
... It can also be interpreted as a "halo effect" [49], whereby student's positive impressions of one aspect of their professor (e.g.: their attractiveness) influences other aspects of their evaluation. Student's perceptions of physical attractiveness are also likely to differ with the perceived age, race, and gender of both the instructor and the students [50], resulting in different manifestations of this trend across different contexts. For example, younger faculty were more likely to be assigned a chili pepper, demonstrated by the negative trend between scientific age and probability of having a chili apparent in S4 Fig). ...
Full-text available
Article
Tenure-track faculty members in the United States are evaluated on their performance in both research and teaching. In spite of accusations of bias and invalidity, student evaluations of teaching have dominated teaching evaluation at U.S. universities. However, studies on the topic have tended to be limited to particular institutional and disciplinary contexts. Moreover, in spite of the idealistic assumption that research and teaching are mutually beneficial, few studies have examined the link between research performance and student evaluations of teaching. In this study, we conduct a large scale exploratory analysis of the factors associated with student evaluations of teachers, controlling for heterogeneous institutional and disciplinary contexts. We source public student evaluations of teaching from RateMyProfessor.com and information regarding career and contemporary research performance indicators from the company Academic Analytics. The factors most associated with higher student ratings were the attractiveness of the faculty and the student’s interest in the class; the factors most associated with lower student ratings were course difficulty and whether student comments mentioned an accent or a teaching assistant. Moreover, faculty tended to be rated more highly when they were young, male, White, in the Humanities, and held a rank of full professor. We observed little to no evidence of any relationship, positive or negative, between student evaluations of teaching and research performance. These results shed light on what factors relate to student evaluations of teaching across diverse contexts and contribute to the continuing discussion teaching evaluation and faculty assessment.
... For example, it was found that gay men had stronger preferences for male upper-body muscularity than their heterosexual female counterparts (Swami & Tovée, 2008). Nevertheless, participants' sexual orientation is frequently ignored in research on perceptions of attractiveness (e.g., Fink et al., 2016;Kandrik et al., 2016;Lewis, 2011). Most frequently, LGBQ participants are simply not invited to take part in such studies or are excluded from further analyses (e.g., Galbarczyk & Ziomkiewicz, 2017;Marcinkowska, Galbarczyk, & Jasienska, 2018). ...
Article
We present the results of the first study exploring whether perceptions of tattooed men may be influenced by sexual orientation. We asked heterosexual women (n=2,436) and men (n=230), and lesbian women (n=50) and gay men (n=60) to rate nine photos of male models with the provisos that at least one image had a digitally added tattoo and participants would not evaluate the same model in both tattooed and non-tattooed versions. Heterosexual men and women rated tattooed men as more masculine, dominant, and aggressive; however, only heterosexual men rated tattooed men as more attractive. While gay men perceived tattooed men as less attractive, more dominant, and more aggressive, no significant differences in perception were observed for lesbian women. We also explored whether sexual orientation moderated the relationship between attractiveness and tattooed men’s perceived masculinity, dominance, and aggression. Perceived aggression was related to lower perceived attractiveness among gay men, but higher perceived attractiveness among heterosexual women. This study demonstrates that the perception of tattooed men’s attractiveness is associated with the assessment of their masculinity, dominance, and aggression. These associations are influenced by both gender and sexual orientation of participants. Our results suggest that the sexual orientation of participants should be taken into account in studies investigating attractiveness perceptions.
... Many precursors of attitudes to sexual behavior can also affect perceived attractiveness and are included in models as control variables. Such factors include age (Mathes et al., 1985), sex, race, and ethnicity (Lewis, 2011), education (Talamas, Mavor, and Perrett, 2016), income (Kenrick et al., 2001), religiosity (Pasha-Zaidi, 2015), and ideology (Price et al., 2011). Age is reported in years; its quadratic term is also included to allow nonlinear changes across the life course. ...
Article
Objective Establishing what leads people to particular moral beliefs is complicated by potential predictors being themselves caused by moral attitudes. This problem is less acute when considering the effects of good looks, which, by expanding sexual opportunities, shift incentives for beliefs regarding the morality of sexual activities. Methods Regressions predict responses to morality‐related questions in the 2016 General Social Survey and the 1972 National Election Study, which included interviewer (i.e., not self‐generated) evaluations of respondents’ looks. These questions concern various actions’ moral acceptability regardless of legality, as well as policy positions on issues including gay marriage and marijuana legalization. Results Better‐looking respondents give more morally permissive responses to most questions relating to sex. For issues not directly related to sexual opportunities, however, attractiveness does not predict significantly more acceptant attitudes. Conclusion Good‐looking people generally are more acceptant of those indulgences that they have disproportionate opportunities for, highlighting the role of opportunism in the formation of moral and political attitudes.
... Recent studies carried out in North America, in Europe, and in Africa on the relationship between attractiveness and skin tone, using pictures (manipulated by computer) of individuals with different range of skin tone, with nominal/ordinal ratings associated to it, have shown mixed results. Some of them confirmed the preference for light skin tones (e.g., Vera Cruz & Mullet, 2012, others showed that mixedrace (medium skin tone faces) are perceived as the most attractive (e.g., Lewis, 2011), and there are research works that did not find a relationship between attractiveness ratings and skin-tone ratings (e.g., Wade & Bielitz, 2005). However, from recent studies, there is clear evidence that, in all continents, individuals with darker skin tone are treated, perceived, and thought about more negatively than their lighter counterparts (e.g., Hagiwara, Kashy, & Cesario, 2012;Livingston & Brewer, 2002;Stepanova & Strube, 2012a, 2012bWade, 2008). ...
Article
The purpose of this study was to assess and compare the relative contribution of skin tone and symmetry on judgment of attractiveness regarding female faces. Two hundred and fifteen Mozambican adults were presented with a set of faces, and instructed to rate their degree of attractiveness along a continuous scale. Chi-square, factorial weight analyses and ANOVA were used to analyze the data. Face skin tone had a significant impact on the participants' attractiveness judgment of target faces. However, the target face skin tone contribution to the participants' attractiveness judgment (5% of the total variance) was much weaker than the contribution of the target face symmetry (85% of the total variance). These results imply that skin bleaching, common among Black people across sub-Saharan African countries, is not only dangerous to the health of those who practice it, but it is unlikely to make them appear much more attractive.
... this phenomenon. In a recent and controversial study (Lewis 2011), White subjects judged Black male faces more attractive than White male faces, but judged Black female faces less attractive than White female faces. 6 However, Black men face other forms of stigma associated with appearance: they, unlike White men, are more successful as corporate leaders if they are perceived as baby-faced. ...
Article
This article argues for an aesthetic approach to resisting oppression based on judgments of bodily unattractiveness. Philosophical theories have often suggested that appropriate aesthetic judgments should converge on sets of objects consensually found to be beautiful or ugly. The convergence of judgments about human bodies, however, is a significant source of injustice, because people judged to be unattractive pay substantial social and economic penalties in domains such as education, employment and criminal justice. The injustice is compounded by the interaction between standards of attractiveness and gender, race, disability, and gender identity. I argue that we should actively work to reduce our participation in standard aesthetic practices that involve attractiveness judgments. This does not mean refusing engagement with the embodiment of others; ignoring someone’s embodiment is often a way of dehumanizing them. Instead, I advocate a form of practice, aesthetic exploration, that involves seeking out positive experiences of the unique aesthetic affordances of all bodies, regardless of whether they are attractive in the standard sense. I argue that there are good ethical reasons to cultivate aesthetic exploration, and that it is psychologically plausible that doing so would help to alleviate the social injustice attending judgments of attractiveness.
... Recent studies carried out among children (before they learn and fully develop cultural-based schemas) and adults on the relationship between attractiveness and skin tone have shown contrasted results. Some of them confirmed the preference for light skin tones (e.g., Vera Cruz, 2012;Vera Cruz & Mullet, 2014), others revealed that mixed-race (medium skin-tone) faces are perceived as the most attractive (e.g., Lewis, 2011), and there are research works that did not find a relationship between attractiveness ratings and skin-tone ratings (e.g., Wade & Bielitz, 2005). In addition, studying skintone dissatisfaction among people of different origins, Swami, Henry, Peacock, Roberts-Dunn, and Porter (2013) showed that Asians had a lighter skin tone ideal than White and African Caribbean participants. ...
Article
This study aimed at assessing the impact of target faces’ skin tone and perceivers’ skin tone on the participants’ attractiveness judgment regarding a symmetrical representative range of target faces as stimuli. Presented with a set of facial features, 240 Mozambican adults rated their attractiveness along a continuous scale. ANOVA and Chi-square were used to analyze the data. The results revealed that the skin tone of the target faces had an impact on the participants’ attractiveness judgment. Overall, participants preferred light-skinned faces over dark-skinned ones. This finding is not only consistent with previous results on skin tone preferences, but it is even more powerful because it demonstrates that the light skin tone preference occurs regardless of the symmetry and baseline attractiveness of the stimuli.
... The respondent's race was measured with three dummy variables for Black, Asian and Native American (with White as the reference category) in order to control for the effects of race on perceived attractiveness (e.g. Lewis, 2011). Parent's income and respondent's earnings were included in the model (these were transformed using a natural logarithm in order to compensate for skewness) to control for the potential effects of socio-economic status on offspring attractiveness, on the premise that low socio-economic status may reduce the condition of the offspring or influence their perceived attractiveness. ...
Article
The effect of paternal age on offspring attractiveness has recently been investigated. Negative effects are predicted as paternal age is a strong proxy for the numbers of common de novo mutations found in the genomes of offspring. As an indicator of underlying genetic quality or fitness, offspring attractiveness should decrease as paternal age increases, evidencing the fitness-reducing effects of these mutations. Thus far results are mixed, with one study finding the predicted effect, and a second smaller study finding the opposite. Here the effect is investigated using two large and representative datasets (Add Health and NCDS), both of which contain data on physical attractiveness and paternal age. The effect is present in both datasets, even after controlling for maternal age at subject's birth, age of offspring, sex, race, parental and offspring (in the case of Add Health) socio-economic characteristics, parental age at first marriage (in the case of Add Health) and birth order. The apparent robustness of the effect to different operationalizations of attractiveness suggests high generalizability, however the results must be interpreted with caution, as controls for parental levels of attractiveness were indirect only in the present study.
... Black men are perceived as both highly attractive and highly dangerous (Lewis 2011; Sadler et al. 2012). And Blacks have the highest risk of being a victim of a hate crime, but Blacks also commit hate crimes at the highest per capita rate (Chorba 2001; Rubenstein 2003). ...
... skin diseases and illnesses) (Etcoff, 1999). After puberty, girls' skin tones lighten and their breasts enlarge to signal fertility for males; whereas as females age or lose fertility, their skin tones gradually darken, particularly while pregnant or on birth control pills (Lewis, 2011;van den Berghe & Frost, 1986). Women's skin tones also lighten or emit a reddish-brown glow (e.g. ...
Article
Skin tone differences among African Americans have been associated with experiences with upward mobility and discrimination. Gender also matters because men and women are not socialized identically, thus, they react to skin tone biases differently. This three-paper dissertation examined dark-, medium-, and light-skinned African American men and women separately in their appraisals of how Blacks and Whites treat them because of their skin tone, its consequences to their self-esteem, and women???s health. The three papers compared results from the Detroit Area Study to the nationally representative National Survey of American Life. In Chapter 2, men???s experiences were examined. In their reports of discrimination from Whites, dark-skinned men reported the most discrimination and light-skinned men reported the least. In men???s reports of discrimination from Blacks, both dark- and light-skinned men reported substantial discrimination while medium-skinned men reported the least. Additionally, interviewer-rated skin tones were not associated with men???s self-esteem, yet discrepancies between self-rated versus interviewer-rated skin tone were associated with lower self-esteem. This challenged previous assumptions that self-esteem was not linked to men???s complexions. Chapter 3 examined women???s experiences. Women???s reports of skin tone discrimination from Whites were higher as skin tone darkened (Chapter 2). Interviewers??? ratings of skin tone were associated with low self-esteem among dark-skinned women. However, discrepancies in self- versus interviewer-rated skin tones were not associated with women???s self-esteem. These gender differences were interpreted in light of theories of femininity that suggest that women were vulnerable to self-esteem threats when their communities devalue their appearance. Chapter 4 examined women???s health in light of double burdens of sexism and racism. Using subjectively measured (self-rated) health, there were no differences across skin tones. However, objective measurements of health revealed that dark-skinned women had the poorest health, followed by medium- and light-skinned women; this association was mediated by their beauty. Further, dark-skinned women were also the most obese. Implications for policy interventions were addressed as findings illustrated that lived experiences of oppression differ across skin tones and gender.
... In E. N. Glenn (Ed.), Shades of Difference: Why Skin Color Matters (pp. [25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39]. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ...
Full-text available
Article
In this article, the authors posit the salience of colorism as an important aspect of race in the knowledge construction and preparation of teachers. Although many more teacher education programs across the United States (U.S.) have begun to infuse aspects of race into their curricula, there is sparse literature about the role of colorism in teacher preparation and its potential impact. This article explicitly focuses on darker-skinned students, who experience trauma in ways that are different from those experienced by lighter-skinned students. This research chronicles the particular experiences of African American female students who endure deep-seated biases and attitudes regarding their skin color, both outside of and within school environments. The authors argue that teacher education programs should include learning opportunities on construction of race as a phenotype (the physical construction of skin tone, hair texture, facial features, and body physique) as an influence on the thinking, beliefs, and consequent practices of teachers in P-12 classrooms. The article concludes with an explicit recommendation for teacher education programs to prioritize colorism in the preparation of teachers.
... Black men are perceived as both highly attractive and highly dangerous (Lewis 2011;Sadler et al. 2012). And Blacks have the highest risk of being a victim of a hate crime, but Blacks also commit hate crimes at the highest per capita rate (Chorba 2001;Rubenstein 2003). ...
Full-text available
Article
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12108-015-9263-z American sociology has consistently leaned toward the political Left. This ideological skew hinders sociological insight in three ways. First, the scope of research projects is constrained: sociologists are discouraged from touching on taboo topics and ideologically unpalatable facts. Second, the data used in sociological research have been limited. Sociologists neglect data that portray conservatives positively and liberals negatively. Data are also truncated to hide facts that subvert a liberal narrative. Third, the empathic understanding of non­liberal ideologies is inhibited. Sociologists sometimes develop the erroneous belief that they understand alternative ideologies, and they fail to explore non­liberal ways of framing sociological knowledge. Some counterarguments may be raised against these theses, and I address such counterarguments.
... On the other hand, Blacks have the second highest per capita rate of victimization in hate crimes (after Jews), which seems to place them at the bottom, but Blacks also commit hate crimes at the highest per capita rate, which seems to place them at the top [38,60]. Additionally, black men are perceived as more attractive than white men [61][62][63], but they are also perceived as more dangerous than white men [42]. ...
Full-text available
Article
The belief that ethnic majorities dominate ethnic minorities informs research on intergroup processes. This belief can lead to the social heuristic that the ethnic majority sets an upper limit that minority groups cannot surpass, but this possibility has not received much attention. In three studies of perceived income, we examined how this heuristic, which we term the White ceiling heuristic leads people to inaccurately estimate the income of a minority group that surpasses the majority. We found that Asian Americans, whose median income has surpassed White median income for nearly three decades, are still perceived as making less than Whites, with the least accurate estimations being made by people who strongly believe that Whites are privileged. In contrast, income estimates for other minorities were fairly accurate. Thus, perceptions of minorities are shaped both by stereotype content and a heuristic.
... Greater exposure to males may strengthen male facial representations and subsequent display of attractiveness biases even in situations when not forced to show bias. Adults perceive darkerskinned males as more attractive than darker-skinned females (Lewis, 2011). Darker-skinned children may detect this discrepancy from their environment and subsequently apply more attractiveness biases toward males than lighter-skinned children. ...
Article
Minimal research has examined children's functional use of attractiveness to classify and label others, an important step in the development of children's biases. This study compared 3- to 11-year-olds' classification, sorting, and labeling of others and themselves based on attractiveness, gender, and race and also investigated whether these abilities and other characteristics predicted children's bias and flexibility. Relative to gender and race, children rarely used attractiveness to spontaneously classify people and were less accurate at sorting and labeling others and themselves by attractiveness, suggesting that they have a less explicit concept of attractiveness. Predictors of bias differed depending on domain and assessment method (forced choice or non-forced choice), showing that children's bias is affected by both individual differences and task characteristics. Predictors of flexibility differed based on whether children were assigning positive or negative traits to target children, demonstrating that the valence of attributes is an important consideration when conceptualizing children's flexibility.
... It is not surprising, then, that skin tone remains one of the most important distinguishing features of individuals , with lighter skin tones generally perceived as more attractive than darker skin tones across cultural groups (Belletti & Wade, 2008;Dixson, Dixson, Morgan, & Anderson, 2007;Feinman & Gill, 1978;Frost, 1994;Paw[swsl]lowski & Szymanczyk, 2008;Stephen, Smith, Stirrat, & Perrett, 2009;Swami, Furnham, & Joshi, 2008;Van den Berghe & Frost, 1986;Wade, Irvine, & Cooper, 2004; but see Lewis, 2010Lewis, , 2011Swami, Rozmus-Wrzesinska, et al., 2008). Combined with the higher status accorded Caucasoid features in most Western societies (Neal & Wilson, 1989), it has been suggested that these ideals have important psychosocial consequences for ethnic minority individuals (Boyd-Franklin, 1991;Russell et al., 1992). ...
Full-text available
Article
This study examined skin tone dissatisfaction, measured using a skin tone chart, among a multiethnic sample of British adults. A total of 648 British White individuals, 292 British South Asians, and 260 British African Caribbean participants completed a visual task in which they were asked to indicate their actual and ideal skin tones. They also completed measures of body appreciation, self-esteem, and ethnic identity attachment. Results showed that Asians had a lighter skin tone ideal than White and African Caribbean participants. Conversely, White participants had higher skin tone dissatisfaction (preferring a darker skin tone) than Asian and African Caribbean participants, who preferred a lighter skin tone. Results also showed that skin tone dissatisfaction predicted body appreciation once the effects of participant ethnicity, age, ethnic identity attachment, and self-esteem had been accounted for. Implications of our findings and suggestions for future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
... Sexually selected traits may also differ between human populations, as slight initial differences in preferences between populations can lead to rapid divergence in expression of the preferred traits [7]. Examples of sexually dimorphic morphological traits that have been hypothesised to have been affected by sexual selection include (but are not limited to) hair and skin colour, breast size, facial hair, chest hair, head hair length, and body size-these traits have been previously shown to contribute to judgements of physical attractiveness [8,9,10,11,12,13]. ...
Full-text available
Article
Intersexual selection has been proposed as an important force in shaping a number of morphological traits that differ between human populations and/or between the sexes. Important to these accounts is the source of mate preferences for such traits, but this has not been investigated. In a large sample of twins, we assess forced-choice, dichotomous mate preferences for height, skin colour, hair colour and length, chest hair, facial hair, and breast size. Across the traits, identical twins reported more similar preferences than nonidentical twins, suggesting genetic effects. However, the relative magnitude of estimated genetic and environmental effects differed greatly and significantly between different trait preferences, with heritability estimates ranging from zero to 57%.
... Black men were rated as being significantly more attractive than White men; however, little difference was found between women [25]. A follow-up study found that White women were rated as more attractive than Black women although this was not significant once a conservative Bonferroni correction had been applied [26] . Further experimentation is required, therefore, to clarify these findings. ...
Full-text available
Article
In the US and UK, more Black men are married to White women than vice versa and there are more White men married to Asian women than vice versa. Models of interracial marriage, based on the exchange of racial status for other capital, cannot explain these asymmetries. A new explanation is offered based on the relative perceived facial attractiveness of the different race-by-gender groups. This explanation was tested using a survey of perceived facial attractiveness. This found that Black males are perceived as more attractive than White or East Asian males whereas among females, it is the East Asians that are perceived as most attractive on average. Incorporating these attractiveness patterns into the model of marriage decisions produces asymmetries in interracial marriage similar to those in the observed data in terms of direction and relative size. This model does not require differences in status between races nor different strategies based on gender. Predictions are also generated regarding the relative attractiveness of those engaging in interracial marriage.
Article
This article argues that blacks should reject integration on self-protective and solidarity grounds. It distinguishes two aspects of black devaluation: a ‘stigmatization’ aspect that has to do with the fact that blacks are subject to various forms of discrimination, and an aesthetic aspect (‘phenotypic devaluation’) that concerns the aesthetic devaluation of characteristically black phenotypic traits. It identifies four self-worth harms that integration may inflict, and suggests that these may outweigh the benefits of integration. Further, it argues that, while the integrating process may reduce stigmatization, there is less reason to think that it can do the same for phenotypic devaluation.
Article
Although it remains contentious, women's changeable attraction to masculine faces has been used to inform evolutionary ideas about human mating strategies. Typical experiments in this area use two-alternative-forced-choice (2afc) over a few pairs of similar images. The reliability of these measures is analysed suggesting that many studies have too few trials to be reliable. In the current experiment, fertility shifts in preferences for masculinised faces (and Africanised faces) were explored using both attractiveness ratings and a 2afc method over 80 pairs. The 2afc method showed a fertility shift in preferences whereas attractiveness ratings did not show a shift. Further, it was demonstrated how the size of the preferences shown in the 2afc tasks correlated with general face-matching performance. It is concluded that fertility is associated with improved face-processing accuracy and hence 2afc designs have poor validity as measures of masculinity preference. These issues of validity and reliability may have contributed to the contentious nature of fertility effects on preferences. Further, validity and reliability need to be considered in any study where a change in preference is identified using a comparative-preference task.
Article
Using novel data from the Berea Panel Study, we show that the beauty wage premium for college graduates exists only in jobs where attractiveness is plausibly a productive characteristic. A large premium exists in jobs with substantial amounts of interpersonal interaction but not in jobs that require working with information. This finding is inconsistent with employer taste-based discrimination, which would favor attractive workers in all jobs. Unique task data address concerns that measurement error in the importance of interpersonal tasks may bias empirical work toward finding employer discrimination. Our conclusions are in stark contrast to the findings of existing research.
Article
In an American society both increasingly diverse and increasingly segregated, the signals children receive about race are more confusing than ever. In this context, how do children negotiate and make meaning of multiple and conflicting messages to develop their own ideas about race? Learning Race, Learning Place engages this question using in-depth interviews with an economically diverse group of African American children and their mothers. Through these rich narratives, Erin N. Winkler seeks to reorient the way we look at how children develop their ideas about race through the introduction of a new framework-comprehensive racial learning-that shows the importance of considering this process from children's points of view and listening to their interpretations of their experiences, which are often quite different from what the adults around them expect or intend. At the children's prompting, Winkler examines the roles of multiple actors and influences, including gender, skin tone, colorblind rhetoric, peers, family, media, school, and, especially, place. She brings to the fore the complex and understudied power of place, positing that while children's racial identities and experiences are shaped by a national construction of race, they are also specific to a particular place that exerts both direct and indirect influence on their racial identities and ideas.
Article
The psychology of race is in its infancy, particularly in the United Kingdom and especially regarding mixed-race. Most use untimed explicit indexes and qualitative/self-report measures. Here, we used not only explicit responses (participants’ choice of response categories) but also implicit data (participants’ response times, RT). In a Stroop task, 92 Black, White, and mixed-race participants classified photographs of mixed-race persons. Photos were accompanied by a word, such as Black or White. Participants ignored the word, simply deciding whether to categorize photos as White or Black. Averaged across three different instructional sets, White participants categorized mixed-race slightly to the White side of the center point, with Black participants doing the converse. Intriguingly, mixed-race participants placed mixed-race photos further toward Black than did the Black group. But for RT, they now indicated midway between White and Black participants. We conclude that at the conscious (key-press) level, mixed-race persons see being mixed-race as Black, but at the unconscious (RT) level, their perception is a perfect balance between Black and White. Findings are discussed in terms of two recent theories of racial identity.
Full-text available
Article
Facial composites constructed from Identi-Kit materials were used to assess the impact of characteristically mature and immature eyebrows, eyes, lips, and jaws on perceptions of social dominance and attractiveness. Male and female faces were identically composed except for hair. Subjects rated faces on scales for dominance and attractiveness. Mature traits were hypothesized to make all faces look dominant and male faces appear attractive. Female faces were predicted to look attractive when displaying immature, nondominant facial cues. The results confirmed that mature traits generally raised dominance and attractiveness ratings for male faces. The traits that successfully raised dominance ratings for male faces made females look less attractive. Eye size had the most reliable effect on both dominance and attractiveness ratings for female faces. Eyes that make females look nondominant also made them look attractive. The results were generally consistent with sociobiological arguments generating predictions.
Full-text available
Article
Darwin's1 hypothesis that male secondary sexual ornaments evolve through female preferences is theoretically plausible2-7, but there is little experimental field evidence that such preferences exist8-10. I have studied female choice in relation to male tail length in the long-tailed widowbird, Euplectes progne, and report here that males in which the tail was experimentally elongated showed higher mating success than males having normal or reduced tails. The possibility that intrasexual competition among males maintains the long tail was not supported: males with shortened tails held their territories as long as did other males. These results suggest that the extreme tail length in male long-tailed widowbirds is maintained by female mating preferences.
Full-text available
Article
Modern humans have been shaped by the cumulative action of natural selection, non-adaptive random change, and sexual selection. The last of these is not universal and has prevailed in one of two circumstances: (1) A surplus of females due to high male mortality, combined with ecological constraints on female participation in food procurement which discourage males from taking second wives; (2) A surplus of single males due to generalized polygyny with relatively low male mortality. These circumstances are most likely to occur in (1) Arctic tundra environments, specifically the vast expanse of tundra covering most of Europe up to 10,000 B.P., and in (2) regions dominated by generalized polygyny, notably sub-Saharan Africa. Sexual selection often acts on existing sex differences, including perhaps sexual dimorphism in human skin colour. Whereas women are universally fairer in complexion, men are browner and ruddier; parallel to this, most human societies see lighter skin as more feminine and darker skin as more masculine. Hence, sexual selection should favour lighter pigmented women when a surplus of single females must compete for a mate. Since skin colour is only mildly sex-linked, both sexes would lighten in pigmentation within the population in question. Similarly, when a surplus of single males must compete for a mate, both sexes would darken. Geographic variation in human skin colour may thus represent a selective compromise between two counterbalancing forces: natural selection, as determined by latitudinal variation in sunlight; and sexual selection, as determined by variations in the following: male mortality rates, incidence of polygyny, and ecological constraints on female participation in food procurement.
Full-text available
Article
Six pairs of photographs showing human faces of both sexes were presented to 98 women who had to choose the more pleasing one of each pair. Faces within each pair were identical except for a slight difference in complexion. For women not taking oral contraceptives, skin-color preference differed significantly between two groups of subjects classified according to the current phase of their self-reported menstrual cycle: darker male faces were judged more positively by subjects in the phase when the estrogen/progesterone ratio was expected to be high than by those in the phase when this ratio was expected to be low. Female faces evoked no such cyclic response. Users of oral contraceptives showed no cyclic response to either male or female faces. These results suggest a mental mechanism whose inputs are (a) hormonal state, (b) visual identification of the sex of the face being observed, and (c) visual recognition of complexion, and whose output enters into evaluation of male and female faces. Replication with direct measures of hormonal state is recommended.
Full-text available
Article
We hypothesized from the parasite theory of sexual selection that men (Homo sapiens) would prefer averageness and symmetry in women's faces, that women would prefer averageness and symmetry in men's faces, and that women would prefer largeness (not averageness) of the secondary sexual traits of men's faces. We generated computer images of men's and women's faces and of composites of the faces of each sex, and then had men and women rate opposite-sex faces for 4 variables (attractive, dominant, sexy, and healthy). Symmetry, averageness, and the sizes of facial features were measured on the computerized faces. The hypotheses were supported, with the exception of the hypothesized effects of averageness of female and male faces on attractiveness ratings. This is the first study to show that facial symmetry has a positive influence on facial attractiveness ratings.
Full-text available
Article
Cues of phenotypic condition should be among those used by women in their choice of mates. One marker of better phenotypic condition is thought to be symmetrical bilateral body and facial features. However, it is not clear whether women use symmetry as the primary cue in assessing the phenotypic quality of potential mates or whether symmetry is correlated with other facial markers affecting physical attractiveness. Using photographs of men's faces, for which facial symmetry had been measured, we found a relationship between women's attractiveness ratings of these faces and symmetry, but the subjects could not rate facial symmetry accurately. Moreover, the relationship between facial attractiveness and symmetry was still observed, even when symmetry cues were removed by presenting only the left or right half of faces. These results suggest that attractive features other than symmetry can be used to assess phenotypic condition. We identified one such cue, facial masculinity (cheek-bone prominence and a relatively longer lower face), which was related to both symmetry and full- and half-face attractiveness.
Full-text available
Article
New genetic data has enabled scientists to re-examine the relationship between human genetic variation and 'race'. We review the results of genetic analyses that show that human genetic variation is geographically structured, in accord with historical patterns of gene flow and genetic drift. Analysis of many loci now yields reasonably accurate estimates of genetic similarity among individuals, rather than populations. Clustering of individuals is correlated with geographic origin or ancestry. These clusters are also correlated with some traditional concepts of race, but the correlations are imperfect because genetic variation tends to be distributed in a continuous, overlapping fashion among populations. Therefore, ancestry, or even race, may in some cases prove useful in the biomedical setting, but direct assessment of disease-related genetic variation will ultimately yield more accurate and beneficial information.
Full-text available
Article
Applied to skin color, the sexual selection hypothesis proposes that male preference for light-skinned females explains the presence of light skin in areas of low solar radiation. According to this proposal, in areas of high solar radiation, natural selection for dark skin overrides the universal preference of males for light females. But in areas in which natural selection ceases to act, sexual selection becomes more important, and causes human populations to become light-skinned, and females to be lighter than males. The sexual selection hypothesis proposes that human sexual dimorphism of skin color should be positively correlated with distance from the equator. We tested the prediction that sexual dimorphism should increase with increasing latitude, using adult-only data sets derived from measurements with standard reflectance spectrophotometric devices. Our analysis failed to support the prediction of a positive correlation between increasing distance from the equator and increased sexual dimorphism. We found no evidence in support of the sexual selection hypothesis.
Article
The present study investigated the validity of stereotyped beliefs about sex differences in preferences for opposite sex coloration. The likes and dislikes of 482 female and 549 male Caucasian college students for eye color, hair color, and complexion color of the opposite sex were investigated by means of a sexual selection questionnaire. Results indicated sex differences in both likes and dislikes for all three features. Males indicated somewhat greater preference for lighter female coloration, while females indicated somewhat greater preference for darker male coloration. These results were discussed in terms of the “kernel of truth” hypothesis of stereotyping, and the possible relationship to earlier research on semantic meanings of color and gender words. Special attention was paid to the tremendous aversion of both sexes to redheads, and to the possible implications of the study for understanding the predominance of black male/white female couplings in black-white interracial marriage in contemporary America.
Article
Research has failed to reach consensus on the characteristics of attractive male faces. Different studies have reported preferences for phenotypically average faces, and faces with both exaggerated and reduced sexual dimorphism. Recent studies demonstrate cyclic changes in female sexual behavior and preferences for odors and facial characteristics that may reflect conditional mating strategies. We employed computer graphic techniques to manipulate the “masculinity” or “femininity” of a composite male face by exaggerating or reducing the shape differences between female and male average faces. Five stimuli with varying levels of masculinity and femininity were presented in a national U.K. magazine, with a questionnaire. Female respondents in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle (n = 55) were significantly more likely to choose a masculine face than those in menses and luteal phases (n = 84). This study provides further evidence that when conception is most likely, females prefer testosterone-related facial characteristics that may honestly advertise immunocompetence.
Article
Investigated, in 2 quasi-experiments, the relation between specific adult female facial features and the attraction, attribution, and altruistic responses of adult males. Precise measurements were obtained of the relative size of 24 facial features in an international sample of photographs of 50 females. 75 undergraduate males provided ratings of the attractiveness of each of the females. Positively correlated with attractiveness ratings were the neonate features of large eyes, small nose, and small chin; the maturity features of prominent cheekbones and narrow cheeks; and the expressive features of high eyebrows, large pupils, and large smile. A 2nd study asked males to rate the personal characteristics of 16 previously measured females. The males were also asked to indicate the females for whom they would be most inclined to perform altruistic behaviors and to select for dating, sexual behavior, and childrearing. The 2nd study replicated the correlations of feature measurements with attractiveness. Facial features also predicted personality attributions, altruistic inclinations, and reproductive interest. Sociobiological interpretations are discussed. (73 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Chapter
Research in the area of facial attractiveness has examined the role of race in the perception of beauty, revealing that regardless of our own skin color, we tend to prefer light skin to dark skin in most matters of choice. Subsequently, the current research, utilizing morphed faces combined in varying degrees Black, White, and Asian facial characteristics, was expected to corroborate with past research by showing that participants found the “pure” White face the most attractive and the “pure” Black face the least attractive. Instead, participants found least attractive the “pure” Asian face. The results are discussed in terms of prior research with a focus on the concept of familiarity. Also discussed are possible limitations and opportunities for future research to further examine and clarify the difference between the present data and the existing literature.
Article
Prior research investigating the perception of men's faces has not considered the hybrid nature of black and white racial characteristics. Fifteen faces ranging from “pure” black or white to “hybrid” black and white were rated in the present research. Main effects for race of face were hypothesized. Predominantly black faces were expected to receive higher ratings for dominance and gender identity characteristics. Predominantly white faces were expected to receive the highest attractiveness rating and higher ratings for nurturant and expressive characteristics. The results supported the hypotheses and are discussed in terms of parental investment theory and existing research.
Article
Both in the UK and in the US, we observe puzzling gender asymmetries in the propensity to outmarry: Black men are more likely to have white spouses than Black women, but the opposite is true for Chinese: Chinese men are half less likely to be married to a White person than Chinese women. We argue that differences in height distributions, combined with a simple preference for the husband to be taller than the wife, can help explain these ethnic-specific gender asymmetries. Blacks are taller than Asians, and we argue that this significantly affects their marriage prospects with whites. We provide empirical support for this hypothesis using data from the Millennium Cohort Study. Specifically, we find that ethnic differences in propensity to intermarry with Whites shrink when we control for the proportion of suitable partners with respect to height.
Article
This paper investigates trends, patterns and determinants of intermarriage (and partnership) comparing patterns among men and women and among different ethnic groups in Britain. We distinguish between endogamous (co-ethnic), majority/minority and minority/minority marriages. Hypotheses are derived from the theoretical literatures on assimilation, segmented assimilation and opportunity structures. The empirical analysis is based on the 1988-2006 General Household Surveys (N = 115,494). Consistent with assimilation theory we find that, for all ethnic minority groups, the propensity to intermarry is higher in the second generation than in the first. Consistent with ideas drawn from segmented assimilation theory, we also find that substantial differences in propensity to form majority/minority marriages persist after controls for individual characteristics such as age, educational level, generation and length of residence in Britain, with men and women of Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi background having higher propensities to form endogamous partnerships. However, we also find that opportunity structures affect intermarriage propensities for all groups alike, with individuals in more diverse residential areas (as measured by the ratio of majority to minority residents in the area) having higher likelihood to form majority/minority partnerships. We conclude then that, beginning from very different starting points, all groups, both minority and the majority groups exhibit common patterns of generational change and response to opportunity structures. Even the groups that are believed to have the strongest community structures and the strongest norms supporting endogamy appear to be experiencing increasing exogamy in the second generation and in more diverse residential settings. This suggests that a weak rather than a strong version of segmented assimilation provides the best account of British patterns.
Article
Previous, small scale, studies have suggested that people of mixed race are perceived as being more attractive than non-mixed-race people. Here, it is suggested that the reason for this is the genetic process of heterosis or hybrid vigour (ie cross-bred offspring have greater genetic fitness than pure-bred offspring). A random sample of 1205 black, white, and mixed-race faces was collected. These faces were then rated for their perceived attractiveness. There was a small but highly significant effect, with mixed-race faces, on average, being perceived as more attractive. This result is seen as a perceptual demonstration of heterosis in humans-a biological process that may have implications far beyond just attractiveness.
Article
Longitudinal growth changes in the soft tissue profile of 40 caucasians between the ages of 7 and 18 were studied. The sample consisted of 17 males and 23 females who had Class I dentitions and balanced faces at age 7 and 18 years. None of the subjects received any orthodontic treatment. Cephalometric radiographs were available, as a rule, on a yearly basis. Soft tissue thickness, measured at the nose, upper lip, lower lip and chin, as well as the length of the upper and lower lip, all increased by varying amounts over the period of the study. Females acquired more growth as a percentage of their adult size (at age 18) than males in all variables except the angle of inclination of the skeletal chin which increased more in males. The largest increase in relative size was noted in the nose measurements. In males, the nose had not attained adult size even at age 18. Upper lip length growth, on the other hand, in both males and females was complete by the 15th year. The difference between male and female lip length growth was clinically significant; the average aggregate increase in upper and lower lips combined in males was 6.9 millimeters compared to 2.65 millimeters in females. The total gain in thickness at laberale superius was over four times as much in males as in females and continued to increase in males even at age 18. The change in thickness of the soft tissue at pogonion was not large, an average of 2.4 millimeters in males and 1.5 millimeters in females. The major contribution to the anterior growth of the chin was translatory, contributed largely by growth in the skeletal length from pogonion to pterygomaxillary plane.
Article
Women prefer slightly feminized male facial shapes. Such faces (Fig. 1a) are given positive personality attributions that might correlate with actual behaviour. In contrast, masculine features seem to signal immunological competence. Heritable benefits can be realized only if conception follows copulation, so women might be more attentive to phenotypic markers indicating immunological competence during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle when conception is most likely,. Consistent with this hypothesis is the observation that women's preference for the odour of men with low fluctuating asymmetry (a correlate of testosterone-facilitated trait size and developmental stability) increases with the probability of conception across the menstrual cycle.Symmetrical men report more extra-pair copulation partners, and extra-pair copulation rates peak in midcycle. Here we show that female preference for secondary sexual traits in male face shapes varies with the probability of conception across the menstrual cycle.
Article
Most studies of racial intermarriage rely on the prevalence of intermarriage to measure the strength of group boundaries, without scrutinizing the nature of intermarriage pairings. Examination of intermarried couples' characteristics reveals (1) that intermarriages and endogamous marriages follow different patterns, and (2) that intermarriage pairings for some groups reflect a generalized racial status hierarchy. According to evidence from the 1990 U.S. Census PUMS, patterns in blacks' and Mexican Americans' marriages with whites suggest that a generalized racial status hierarchy disadvantages members of these minority groups. For marriages between Japanese Americans and whites, however, crossing the group boundary does not affect couples' characteristics.
Article
This paper studies marriages across black, white, and Asian racial lines. Marrying across racial lines is a rare event, even today. Interracial marriages account for approximately 1 percent of white marriages, 5 percent of black marriages, and 14 percent of Asian marriages. Following a brief history of the regulation of race and romance in America, I analyze interracial marriage using census data from 1880–2000, uncovering a rich set of cross-section and time-series patterns. I investigate the extent to which three different theories of interracial marriage can account for the patterns discovered. After also testing a social exchange theory and a search model, I find the data are most consistent with a Becker-style marriage market model in which objective criteria of a potential spouse, their race, and the social price of intermarriage are central.