Perceptions of Diversity Across Groups

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Principal investigator:

Christopher Bauman

University of California, Irvine



Sample size: 2512

Field period: 4/20/2010-8/6/2010

People often treat diversity as an objective feature of situations that everyone perceives similarly. The current research examined the extent to which variability exists in the perceived racial diversity of a group. Results supported the hypothesis that in-group representation is a key consideration when people, especially racial minority group members, evaluate the amount of racial diversity in a group.

The in-group representation hypothesis predicted that racial minority group members would perceive teams to be more racially diverse when teams included in-group members than when teams included racial minority out-group members.
The unique perspectives hypothesis predicted that in-group representation would have a stronger effect on perceived racial diversity for African Americans than Asian Americans.

Experimental Manipulations
Racial composition of 6-person groups via pictures. Four conditions: 6 White, 4 White + 2 African American, 4 White + 2 Asian, 4 White + 1 African American + 1 Asian.

Perceived diversity (three items developed by Unzueta & Binning, 2012)

Summary of Results
Racial minority group members' diversity judgments depended on in-group representation, above and beyond the extent to which the in-group increased racial heterogeneity. Asian Americans and African Americans perceived more diversity in teams that included two people from their own racial group than in teams that included an equal number of racial groups but no one from their racial in-group.
Also, the effect of in-group representation on perceived diversity was stronger for African Americans than Asian Americans. That is, African Americans' diversity judgments about teams that included four White members and either two Asian or two Black members differed more than Asian Americans' diversity judgments about the same two teams.


Bauman, C. W., Trawalter, S., & Unzueta, M. M. (2014). Diverse according to whom? Racial group membership and concerns about discrimination shape diversity judgments. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 1354-1372.