Complex Social Categorization
Most research on social categorization and stereotyping focuses on perceptions of people on a single social categorical space (e.g., gender, race, age). However, perceivers can categorize targets into multiple social groups from visual information (e.g., faces) and other cues. Furthermore, perceivers show less consensus and take longer to categorize social groups seen as more categorically ambiguous (e.g., Multiracials in the United States). How do people make sense of multiply-categorizable and categorically ambiguous others? In my research, I have examined how mixed-race targets are perceived, showing that, contrary to previous results based on forced-choice tasks, these targets are rarely spontaneously categorized as Multiracial in the United States, and are instead perceived to be Hispanic or Middle Eastern. Additionally, ongoing research is exploring the stereotypes that are applied to individuals who belong to multiple salient social groups.