Term of Award

Summer 2013

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Amy A. Hackney

Committee Member 1

Karen Z. Naufel

Committee Member 2

C. Thresa Yancey

Abstract

A controlled experiment contributes to our understanding of the hiring disparity by examining the effect of applicant race and type of applicant first name on hiring decisions. Two- hundred and five participants acted as mock hiring managers and reviewed an application and resume, completed an evaluation of the applicant’s job related characteristics, and made hiring and starting salary recommendations. Measures for stereotype and race activation were also included. Neither applicant race nor applicant name type affected participants’ ratings of job related characteristics such as perceived motivation, intellectual ability, ability to work well with others, and potential in the field. Results showed that participant gender affects hiring and salary decisions. Male participants recommended applicants for hire less often than did female participants, regardless of applicant race or name type. Participant gender and applicant race also interacted to affect awarded salary. Male participants tended to award lower salaries to African American applicants than to White applicants. For those participants who reviewed African American applicants, males tended to award lower salaries than did females. Male and female participants did not differ in the salaries awarded to White applicants. The findings demonstrate the importance of participant demographic characteristics and salience of the ingroup when making evaluative decisions.

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