The Long, Steep Path to Equality: Progressing on Egalitarian Goals

J Exp Psychol Gen. 2012 Feb;141(1):187-97. doi: 10.1037/a0025602. Epub 2011 Sep 19.


The present research examined the impact that perceived progress on egalitarian goals had on subsequent racial bias. In particular, a new bogus pipeline procedure was used to provide feedback to participants that they were becoming incrementally more egalitarian. The impact of this information on intergroup behavior and attitudes was tested. In particular, we looked at the effect of goal feedback on outgroup discrimination and ingroup favoritism, as well as implicit racial attitudes. Three studies found that participants demonstrated greater racial bias after receiving feedback that they were progressing on egalitarian goals versus either feedback that they were failing on egalitarian goals or no feedback. Specifically, participants who were told that they were progressively becoming more egalitarian sat farther away from Blacks and closer to Whites and demonstrated greater implicit racial prejudice. The implication of these findings for current theories on prejudice, intergroup relations, and social goals are discussed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans*
  • Attitude*
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Prejudice*
  • Social Identification
  • Social Perception