Research

The Social Fringe Lab is usually working on a variety of projects. Most, but not all, projects come from a theoretical background of stereotyping & prejudice and focus on person perception or attitudes. See below for a short explanation of current projects.

Attitudes toward Native Americans

We are working on developing a scale to measure attitudes toward Native Americans. We are able to measure attitudes toward many other racial/cultural groups in the United States, but these scales do not map on to attitudes toward Native Americans very well. The initial scale has been validated and current research assesses how well it predicts behaviors.

  • Thomas, M.A. & Barrett, J.J.L. (2017, January). Attitudes toward Native Americans. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. San Antonio, TX.
  • Thomas, M.A., Pennock, J.L., & Sturm, A.  (2016, January). Development of the Attitudes Toward Native Americans Scale. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. San Diego, CA. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3347.1603

Food and Masculinity

A body of research indicates that meat is associated with masculinity. This research investigates perceptions of people who eat omnivorous, vegetarian, and vegan diets. So far, we have found that men who eat vegetarian diets are perceived as similarly masculine compared to those who eat omnivorous diets, but that men who eat vegan diets are perceived as less masculine. It seems as though the choice to be vegan is what drives this perception. The publication below was covered in  Pacific Standard.

Thomas, M.A. (2016). Are vegans the same as vegetarians? The effect of meatless diets on perceptions of masculinity. Appetite. 97, 79-86. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2015.11.021

  • Thomas, M.A. (2014, February). Vegan is the new vegetarian. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Austin, TX. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4027.0969

Optimally Distinct Others

Most people are not perfectly stereotypic members of their groups. Instead, most have some characteristics of their group, with some counterstereotypic characteristics as well. Social psychological research has not investigated perceptions of those people. Our research investigates whether those more realistic people are preferred over stereotypic and counterstereotypic others.