The Relation Between Evaluation and Racial Categorization of Emotional Faces

Jordan R. Axt*, Yoav Bar-Anan, Michelangelo Vianello

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior research has found that indirectly measured preference for White people over Black people is positively related to categorizing angry racially ambiguous faces as Black. This past work found no evidence that directly measured racial preferences predict this racial categorization bias (RCB), suggesting that the RCB could be a unique and easily administered tool for investigating automatic evaluation and validating automatic evaluation measures. In two studies (total N > 7,000), using structural equation models that account for error variance, multiple indirect evaluation measures were uniquely related to the RCB, thus bolstering their predictive validity. However, the RCB also correlated with self-reported evaluation, leaving psychologists without a robust, replicable outcome uniquely related to automatic evaluation. The lack of such an outcome hinders theoretical and practical progress in research on implicit social cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-206
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • automatic evaluation
  • face perception
  • implicit cognition
  • race
  • validity


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