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2006

Attribution

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Rethinking Symbolic Racism: Evidence Of Attribution Bias, Brad T. Gomez, J. Matthew Wilson Aug 2006

Rethinking Symbolic Racism: Evidence Of Attribution Bias, Brad T. Gomez, J. Matthew Wilson

Political Science Research

This paper demonstrates that cognitive tendencies related to political sophistication produce an attribution bias in the widely accepted symbolic racism scale. When this bias is controlled statistically, the effect of symbolic racism on racial policy attitudes is greatly diminished. Our theory posits that high sophisticates tend to make global/distal attributions, allowing them to associate racial inequality with broader sociopolitical causes. Less sophisticated individuals, conversely, tend to make local/proximal attributions, thus biasing them against ascribing responsibility systemically. Consequently, less sophisticated individuals tend to be classified as intolerant by the symbolic racism scale, even when controlling for factors such as ...