Racial Bias in Perceptions of Others' Pain

Sophie Trawalter*, Kelly M. Hoffman, Adam Waytz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present work provides evidence that people assume a priori that Blacks feel less pain than do Whites. It also demonstrates that this bias is rooted in perceptions of status and the privilege (or hardship) status confers, not race per se. Archival data from the National Football League injury reports reveal that, relative to injured White players, injured Black players are deemed more likely to play in a subsequent game, possibly because people assume they feel less pain. Experiments 1-4 show that White and Black Americans-including registered nurses and nursing students-assume that Black people feel less pain than do White people. Finally, Experiments 5 and 6 provide evidence that this bias is rooted in perceptions of status, not race per se. Taken together, these data have important implications for understanding race-related biases and healthcare disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere48546
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 14 2012

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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