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Interracial daters are evaluated as more attractive, psychologists claim

Posted July 11, 2014
Picture: A portrait of Louis G. Gregory and his wife Louisa Mathew Gregory, the first inter-racial marriage. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Picture: A portrait of Louis G. Gregory and his wife Louisa Mathew Gregory, the first inter-racial marriage. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

New socio-psychological study carried out by scientists at the University of California reveals an interesting fact: Interracial daters are evaluated as more attractive than intraracial ones. “Our results contradict historical stereotypes of individuals who date interracially as undesirable or inferior,” the researchers say.

Love between people of different races is no more a taboo nowadays. However, the situation was totally different just 50 years ago. In fact, interracial marriage was legalized only in 1967. The number of such couples has increased considerably since then. Although romantic relationships between people of different races are not forbidden anymore, the research shows that such couples are still often stigmatized and negative attitudes towards such pairs still prevail.

“Regardless of ethnic composition, interracial couples often report not only prejudice from the public (e.g., rude looks and poor treatment) but also exclusion from social networks and close others, including family members,” the scholars note. This fact indicates that interracial dating remains costly.

But what motives drives such relationships then? Different explanations exist. Many sociologists tested theory of hypogamy proposed by Robert K. Merton and stating that racial status can be traded as a good. “Individuals who are higher in racial status will establish relationships with those of lower racial status if they possess other assets, such as higher attractiveness, income, or education,” the scientists explain.

However, mixed results were observed. Others, investigated demographic or adjustment factors. However, influence of personal traits, such as physical attractiveness or was largely underexplored by researchers analyzing this phenomenon. The social psychologists conducted experimental studies which fixed this shortcoming of the previous research.

They discovered that interracial daters were better rated by their partners than intraracial daters. Moreover, independent observers evaluated them as more physically attractive. Moreover, the study demonstrated that contrary to stereotypes of interracial daters as selfloathing and insecure interracial daters did not differ from intraracial daters in their self-ratings and showed awareness of their partners’ more positive evaluations of them.

Article: Wu K., Chen C., and Greenberger E., 2014, The sweetness of forbidden fruit: Interracial daters are more attractive than intraracial daters, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships published online 9 July, DOI: 10.1177/0265407514541074, source link.

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