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MSU: Evolved Psychological Architecture of Race Prejudice – Carlos Navarette (E. Lansing)

October 21, 2010
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

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Michigan State University
220 Trowbridge Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824 United States

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Organized by:
Terry Munger
Email: msu@centerforinquiry.net


Intergroup aggression perpetrated by men has been a persistent feature of human societies for centuries, and may have been common enough over evolutionary time to have allowed selection to shape the neural circuitry underlying the psychology of prejudice. Because intergroup aggression poses different adaptive challenges for men and women, the psychological adaptations that operate to cope with such threats may differ between the sexes as well; and, since racial categories are often mentally represented as group-like entities, modern race bias should be understandable within this general framework.

Results from several studies are consistent with this perspective, and show that (a) race bias is primarily directed at male exemplars of racial-outgroups, (b) men are more likely to be aggressively prejudiced than women, and (c) women are more likely to be fearfully prejudiced than men, particularly during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle. Illustrations of how these systems may be operative in political attitudes and voting preferences for Barack Obama are presented. These results are consistent with the notion that the psychology of intergroup prejudice is generated by different psychological systems between men and women.

About Carlos Navarette, PhD

Asst. Professor of Psychology, Michigan State University

Carlos Navarette is an Assistant Professor with Michigan State University Department of Psychology. He is the Principal Investigator of the Morality & Intergroup Relations Lab, a member of the Core Faculty of the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior program, and a Research Fellow of the Center for Multicultural Psychology Research. His research interests include evolutionary psychology, social psychology, intergroup bias, and moral judgment. Dr. Navarette received his PhD. in Biological Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004.