Lighter Skin, More Like Me
In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that self-described liberals looked at artificially lightened photographs of President Barack Obama and judged them as more representative of his actual likeness, while self-described conservative students more often chose artificially darkened photos of Obama.Unfortunately, the blog post's link to the actual article isn't working and I can't find it; so tough to tell whether this summary is accurate, or, my question, whether there was any difference in findings for study subjects depending on their own race.
First, researchers showed students a picture of a biracial man. They were told that the person was a candidate for a government job. Some in the group were told that the man supported their views; others weren't. Those who were told that the person supported their views were more likely to judge a lightened version of the person as more representative of the person's actual likeness. Those who were not rated a darkened photograph as more representative. "The more people considered the lighter versions of the candidate as representative of him, the stronger their stated intentions of voting for him."
The findings held for a candidate that all the participants knew about -- Barack Obama.... The more "people considered the lighter skin tone as representative of a candidate who shared their own ideology, the stronger their stated intentions of voting for that candidate." A third part of the study theorized that people with ingrained racial prejudice would see Obama and vote against automatically, and that the correlation was simply a matter of prejudice. Controlling for overt racial attitudes, however, the difference persisted.
The basic conclusion: the more you like a candidate, the more likely you are to "lighten" a photograph of him or her. The less likely you like a candidate, the more likely you are to "darken a photograph."