School teachers have been shown to favor ethnic majority over minority students. However, it is unclear what psychological processes motivate ethnicity-based discrimination. Of the studies that have examined the psychological roots of teacher discrimination, most have focused on implicit or explicit prejudice. We propose an alternate predictor: dehumanization. Using a within-subject paradigm with a small-scale experiment (N = 29) and a larger scale replication (N = 161), we find that Hungarian preservice teachers consistently discriminate against Roma minority students by recommending that they be denied entry to higher track secondary schools, and preferentially placing them into lower track schools, relative to equally qualified ethnic majority Hungarian students, and that the severity of the ethnic tracking bias is predicted by dehumanization (but not prejudice). In fact, the relationship between dehumanization and discrimination holds (and may be significantly stronger) for teachers who express the lowest levels of prejudice towards the Roma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science