Feedback to Minorities: Evidence of a Positive Bias

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Abstract

This research tested the prediction that Whites supply more lenient feedback to Blacks than to fellow Whites. In Study 1, White undergraduates were led to believe that they were giving feedback on essays written by either a Black or a White fellow student. As predicted, feedback was less critical when the supposed feedback recipient was Black rather than White. It was also predicted that the feedback bias would be selective for subjective evaluative domains (i.e., essay content) in contrast to objective evaluative domains (i.e., essay mechanics). An interaction between recipient race and evaluative domain confirmed this prediction. The domain-specific quality of the feedback bias suggests that the bias may arise from social motives rather than from more automatic processes. Study 2 replicated these results.

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