Only You Can Prevent Discrimination: Testing The Effects Of Autonomy-Promoting Anti-Prejudice Messages

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kailey E. Plowman (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Andrew Smith

Abstract: Previous research has indicated that people's stereotypes about race, sex, and age can influence their hiring decisions. Companies often implement equal opportunity efforts and antiprejudice messaging to alleviate discrimination in hiring practices. In this study, I evaluated the effect of anti-prejudice messages on gender discrimination in hypothetical hiring decisions. Participants were shown anti-prejudice messaging that were phrased in either a controlling or autonomous manner, or they did not see a message. They then evaluated the suitability of the applicant and made a decision to hire for both a male and female candidate for two stereotypical "masculine" jobs. Similar to previous research, the controlling anti-prejudice message increased discrimination—participants were more likely to hire the man than the woman. However, there was no evidence of discrimination for participants who saw no anti-prejudice message or the autonomy-promoting message. This research provides evidence that the way anti-prejudice messages are framed can negatively impact behavior towards an individual in the context of hiring decisions. Additional research is necessary to understand when messages designed to decrease discrimination might backfire or successfully decreases discriminatory behavior.

Additional Information

Plowman, K. (2022). Only You Can Prevent Discrimination: Testing The Effects Of Autonomy-Promoting Anti-Prejudice Messages. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2022
discrimination, stereotyping, anti-prejudice messaging, judgment and decision-making

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