White selves: conceptualizing and measuring a dominant-group identity

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2005 Aug;89(2):223-41. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.89.2.223.


This article addresses the nature and measurement of White racial identity. White identification is conceptualized as an automatic association between the self and the White ingroup; this association is fostered through social exposure to non-Whites and serves to link self- and ingroup evaluations. Four studies validated a measure of White identification against criteria derived from this model. In Study 1, the White Identity Centrality Implicit Association Test (WICIAT) predicted response latencies in a task gauging self-ingroup merging. In Study 2, the WICIAT correlated with census data tapping exposure to non-Whites. In Studies 3 and 4, the WICIAT predicted phenomena associated with the linking of self- and ingroup evaluations: identity-related biases in intergroup categorization (Study 3) and self-evaluative emotional reactions to ingroup transgressions (Study 4). Together, the findings shed light on the antecedents and consequences of White identity, an often-neglected individual difference construct.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American
  • California
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Emotions
  • Face
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Photography
  • Prejudice
  • Psychological Tests*
  • Race Relations
  • Reaction Time
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Identification*
  • White People / psychology*