Racial, gender bias results in more anti-social behaviour: Study

” The results showed that the women were more likely to say they would engage in counterproductive activities, such as working incorrectly on purpose, starting rumours or ignoring co-workers who need help.”
Washington, March 27(IANS):  A new study carried out by a team of US researchers has identified the psychological roots of certain social deviant behaviours, pinpointing them as caused by discrimination due to race, gender or belonging to a certain group.

In the study published in the Personality and Psychology Bulletin, the team of Stanford University researchers noted that anti-social behaviour can stem from feelings of negative perception certain groups can experience from an early age.

We observed that students can feel negative emotions if they think that others are going to prejudge them based on their belonging to a certain race or gender, Rodolfo Cortes Barragan, a psychology graduate student who co-authored the study, told Xinhua news agency on Thursday,

Barragan and his colleagues found that African American students worry much more than their Caucasian peers about how their abilities would be judged by others and whether they would be stereotyped, while women fear being pigeonholed at work because of their gender. And if a person believes he is being judged on pre-established negative feelings, his or her attitude becomes anti-social.

Researchers recruited 1,280 participants from across the US to join a series of online surveys about race, gender, social status, perceptions and feelings. Almost all of the respondents answered that they would far more likely engage in counterproductive and deviant behaviour if they felt submitted to preconceived stereotypes.

African American participants who imagined having a racist boss indicated that their commitment to the company would plummet and they would see themselves more inclined to waste their employer’s supplies or badmouth the company to others.

In another survey, the researchers asked female participants to imagine that they faced the possibility of being denied a promotion either because their boss did not think a woman was suitable for a leadership position or because their personality was not suitable for the job.

The results showed that the women were more likely to say they would engage in counterproductive activities, such as working incorrectly on purpose, starting rumours or ignoring co-workers who need help.

Race and gender are not things we can control. Therefore, we feel frustrated when we are not judged based on our personality or individual capabilities, Barragan said. Roots of anti-social behaviour often happen in this context and can be applied to certain extremist behaviours.