Perspective taking combats the denial of intergroup discrimination

Andrew R. Todd*, Galen V. Bodenhausen, Adam D. Galinsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Despite the continuing, adverse impact of discrimination on the lives of racial and ethnic minorities, the denial of discrimination is commonplace. Four experiments investigated the efficacy of perspective taking as a strategy for combating discrimination denial. Participants who adopted a Black or Latino target's perspective in an initial context were subsequently more likely to explicitly acknowledge the persistence of intergroup discrimination than were non-perspective takers (Experiments 1-3) or participants who adopted a White target's perspective (Experiment 1). Perspective taking also engendered more positive attitudes toward a social policy designed to redress intergroup inequalities (i.e., affirmative action), and this relationship was mediated by increased recognition of discrimination (Experiments 2a and 2b). Increased identification with the targeted outgroup, as reflected in automatic associations between the self and African Americans, was found to underlie the effect of perspective taking on sensitivity to discrimination (Experiment 3). The collective findings indicate that perspective taking can effectively combat discrimination denial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-745
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • Discrimination
  • Intergroup relations
  • Perspective taking
  • Racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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