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Intuitive pathways into racist beliefs

NCJ Number
Mehr Latif; Pete Simi; Kathleen Blee; Matthew DeMichele
Date Published

This article explores how intuitive processes inform racist beliefs.


This article presents empirical evidence on the cognitive processes underlying racist beliefs and judgment. The authors fill a critical gap in the literature by providing an empirical analysis of intuition. While the researchers examine both deliberate and intuitive pathways to racist belief, they focus on the intuitive ways that extreme racist beliefs are cognitively processed before, during and after an individual is involved in the White supremacist movement. The researchers illustrate the analytic contributions of their approach, and they conclude by drawing on our evidence to elucidate three puzzles, including: (1) why racist beliefs persist; (2) how people draw on implicit beliefs to make explicit judgments; and (3) how explicit beliefs become encoded in intuitive pathways. The authors draw on 47 life history interviews with former members of White supremacist groups to better understand how social interactions and stimuli from the wider environment inform cognitive pathways or how people think. (Published Abstract Providers)