Nonverbal Communication of Bias

A team of researchers at Tufts University at the Medford/Somerville campus in Massachesetts found that sublte nonverbal behavior on 11 popular television shows has an influence on racial bias among viewers. The study appears in the December 2009 issue of the journal Science.

The research team looked at the prevalence, subtlety and impact of nonverbal race bias in 11 popular weekly scripted TV shows. They found that white characters displayed more negative nonverbal behavior toward black characters than to white characters of the same status.

According to the study, “Nonverbal behavior that communicates favoritism of one race over another can be so subtle that even across a large number of exposures, perceivers are unable to consciously identify the nonverbal pattern. Nevertheless, exposure to nonverbal race bias can influence perceivers’ race associations and self-reported racial attitudes.”

What is the implication for educators, supervisors and managers?

Here is a link to the news release from Tufts University:
http://news.tufts.edu/releases/release.php?id=144

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