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What Does it Take to Reduce Racial Prejudice in Individual-Level Candidate Evaluations? A Formal Theoretic Perspective*

  • Arthur Lupia, Logan S. Casey, Kristyn L. Karl, Spencer Piston, Timothy J. Ryan and Christopher Skovron...

Anti-black prejudice affects how some citizens evaluate black candidates. What does it take to reduce the role of prejudice in these evaluations? Using logical implications of relevant psychological phenomena, this article shows that repeated exposure to counter-stereotypical information is insufficient to reduce evaluative prejudice. Instead, citizens must associate this prejudice with adverse effects for themselves in contexts that induce them to rethink their existing racial beliefs. These findings explain important disagreements in empirical prejudice research, as only some empirical research designs supply the conditions for prejudice reduction predicted here. This study also clarifies why similarly situated citizens react so differently to counter-stereotypical information. In sum, we find that prejudice change is possible, but in a far narrower set of circumstances than many scholars claim.

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*Arthur Lupia is the Hal R. Varian Collegiate Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Michigan, 5700 Haven Hall, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1045 ( Logan S. Casey (, Kristyn L. Karl ( and Christopher Skovron ( are graduate students in the Department of Political Science, University of Michigan. Spencer Piston is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Syracuse University, 100 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244-1020 ( Timothy J. Ryan is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina, 361 Hamilton Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3265 (
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Political Science Research and Methods
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