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The implications of priming the "Latin lover" stereotype on perceptions of romantic intentions: A self-categorization theory approach

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Michelle Ortiz
Abstract:
Media effects research has yet to shed light on the effects of exposure to the stereotype of Latinos as passionate and seductive (i.e., Latin lovers). Research on priming ethnic group stereotypes indicates that the activated stereotype affects subsequent evaluations of members of the ethnic group. This study looked at the effects of priming the Latin lover stereotype on participants' judgments of unrelated targets. A self-categorization theory approach was invoked to account for individual differences in priming effects, by assessing the role that ethnicity salience and stereotype endorsement play in priming effects. The experiment found little support for the effects of priming the Latin lover stereotype. Ethnicity accessibility and stereotype endorsement mainly moderated priming effects dealing with perceptions of an unrelated White male target's romanticism, perceptions of an unrelated Latino male target's relational commitment, perceptions of a relationally-committed female target's ethnicity, and compatibility ratings involving the relationally-committed female target. Reasons for the weak priming results are discussed.

6 TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................ 10 LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................................... 12 ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................... 13 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................... 14 STEREOTYPE OF LATIN PEOPLE AS PASSIONATE ............................................. 15 PORTRAYALS OF LATINOS AND THE LATIN LOVER ......................................... 18 EFFECTS OF EXPOSURE TO ETHNIC GROUP STEREOTYPES ........................... 21 MEDIA PRIMING .......................................................................................................... 24 SELF-CATEGORIZATION THEORY .......................................................................... 31 PILOT STUDY 1 ............................................................................................................ 38 Method ...................................................................................................................... 38 Participants ....................................................................................................... 38 Measures ............................................................................................................ 38 Love style .................................................................................................... 38 Attribute recall ........................................................................................... 39 Results and Discussion ............................................................................................. 40 PILOT STUDY 2 ............................................................................................................. 43 Method ...................................................................................................................... 43 Participants ....................................................................................................... 43 Video Clips ........................................................................................................ 43 Content of Dating Profiles ................................................................................. 45

7 TABLE OF CONTENTS – Continued Pictures .............................................................................................................. 46 Results ....................................................................................................................... 47 Video Clips ........................................................................................................ 47 Content of Dating Profiles ................................................................................. 50 Pictures .............................................................................................................. 52 MAIN STUDY ................................................................................................................ 54 Method ...................................................................................................................... 54 Procedure and Participants .............................................................................. 54 Dependent Variables ......................................................................................... 56 Love style .................................................................................................... 56 Perceived ethnicity ..................................................................................... 57 Perceived romantic compatibility .............................................................. 57 Moderating Variables ........................................................................................ 58 Results ....................................................................................................................... 59 Stimuli Check ..................................................................................................... 59 Hypotheses 1 and 2 ............................................................................................ 60 Hypothesis 3 ...................................................................................................... 61 Hypothesis 4 ...................................................................................................... 61 Hypothesis 5 ...................................................................................................... 61 Hypotheses 6 and 7 ............................................................................................ 62 Hypothesis 8 ...................................................................................................... 63

8 TABLE OF CONTENTS – Continued Hypotheses 9 and 10 .......................................................................................... 63 Hypothesis 11 .................................................................................................... 64 Hypothesis 12 .................................................................................................... 65 Hypothesis 13 .................................................................................................... 66 Hypotheses 14-16 .............................................................................................. 67 Hypotheses 17-20 .............................................................................................. 68 Analysis strategy ........................................................................................ 68 Hypothesis 17 ............................................................................................. 69 Hypothesis 18 ............................................................................................. 72 Hypothesis 19 ............................................................................................. 75 Hypothesis 20 ............................................................................................. 78 DISCUSSION .................................................................................................................. 81 The Latin Lover Stereotype ...................................................................................... 83 Priming the Latin Lover Stereotype ......................................................................... 83 Weak Priming Effects ............................................................................................... 84 Comparison with Other Priming Research ............................................................... 90 Accessibility and Stereotype Endorsement .............................................................. 93 Future Research Directions ....................................................................................... 94 APPENDIX A ................................................................................................................. 96 APPENDIX B ................................................................................................................. 97 APPENDIX C ................................................................................................................. 98

9 TABLE OF CONTENTS – Continued APPENDIX D ............................................................................................................... 100 APPENDIX E ............................................................................................................... 102 APPENDIX F ................................................................................................................ 103 FIGURES ...................................................................................................................... 104 TABLES ....................................................................................................................... 112 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................. 121

10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Ranking of Latina as the Relationally-Committed Woman’s Ethnicity by Condition ................................................................................................................ 104 Figure 2: Graphical Illustration of Three-Way Interaction Effect Between Ethnicity of Protagonist, Type of Clip, and Ethnicity Accessibility Predicting Perceptions of the White Target’s Passionate Love Style .................................................................... 105 Figure 3: Graphical Illustration of Three-Way Interaction Effect Between Ethnicity of Protagonist, Type of Clip, and Ethnicity Accessibility Predicting Perceptions of the Latino Target’s Relational Commitment ................................................................ 106 Figure 4: Graphical Illustration of Three-Way Interaction Effect Between Ethnicity of Protagonist, Type of Clip, and Ethnicity Accessibility Predicting Perceptions of Latina as the Committed Female’s Ethnicity .......................................................... 107 Figure 5: Graphical Illustration of Three-Way Interaction Effect between Ethnicity of Protagonist, Type of Clip, and Ethnicity Accessibility Predicting Perceptions of Romantic Compatibility between the Latino Target and the Relationally-Committed Woman .................................................................................................................... 108 Figure 6: Graphical Illustration of Three-Way Interaction Effect Between Ethnicity of Protagonist, Type of Clip, and Stereotype Endorsement in Predicting Perceptions of the White Target’s Passionate Love Style .............................................................. 109 Figure 7: Graphical Illustration of Three-Way Interaction Effect Between Ethnicity of Protagonist, Type of Clip, and Stereotype Endorsement in Predicting Compatibility Ratings Between the Latino Target and the Relationally-Committed Female ....... 110

11 LIST OF FIGURES – Continued Figure 8: Graphical Illustration of Three-Way Interaction Effect Between Ethnicity of Protagonist, Type of Clip, and Stereotype Endorsement in Predicting Compatibility Ratings Between the White Target and the Relationally-Committed Female ........ 111

12 LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Descriptive Statistics for Content of Men’s Profiles ...................................... 112 Table 2: Descriptive Statistics for Content of Women’s Profiles ................................. 113 Table 3: Descriptive Statistics for Ranking of the Female Targets’ Ethnicity as Latina by Condition ............................................................................................................... 114 Table 4: Descriptive Statistics for Perceptions of the Latino and White Male Targets’ Passionate Love Style by Condition ...................................................................... 115 Table 5: Descriptive Statistics for Perceptions of the Latino Target’s Relational Commitment by Condition ..................................................................................... 116 Table 6: Descriptive Statistics for Compatibility Ratings between the Latino Male Target and the Female Targets ......................................................................................... 117 Table 7: Descriptive Statistics for Compatibility Ratings between the White Male Target and the Female Targets ......................................................................................... 118 Table 8: Variance Accounted for by the Interaction Involving Ethnicity Accessibility as a Moderator for Hypotheses 4-10, 12, and 13 .......................................................... 119 Table 9: Variance Accounted for by the Interaction Involving Stereotype Endorsement as a Moderator for Hypotheses 4-10, 12, and 13 ....................................................... 120

13 ABSTRACT Media effects research has yet to shed light on the effects of exposure to the stereotype of Latinos as passionate and seductive (i.e., Latin lovers). Research on priming ethnic group stereotypes indicates that the activated stereotype affects subsequent evaluations of members of the ethnic group. This study looked at the effects of priming the Latin lover stereotype on participants’ judgments of unrelated targets. A self- categorization theory approach was invoked to account for individual differences in priming effects, by assessing the role that ethnicity salience and stereotype endorsement play in priming effects. The experiment found little support for the effects of priming the Latin lover stereotype. Ethnicity accessibility and stereotype endorsement mainly moderated priming effects dealing with perceptions of an unrelated White male target’s romanticism, perceptions of an unrelated Latino male target’s relational commitment, perceptions of a relationally-committed female target’s ethnicity, and compatibility ratings involving the relationally-committed female target. Reasons for the weak priming results are discussed.

14 INTRODUCTION Research examining the effects of exposure to portrayals of ethnic minority groups in mainstream media invoking an intergroup perspective has found that these images become incorporated into viewers’ intergroup cognitions and affect subsequent judgments and evaluations (e.g., Dixon, 2006; Johnson, Trawalter, & Dovidio, 2000; Mastro, 2003; Power, Murphy, & Coover, 1996). Research on priming ethnic group stereotypes, in particular, has revealed that a primed stereotype affects subsequent evaluations of the entire ethnic group or of unrelated targets who are members of the group (e.g., Dixon & Maddox, 2005; Gilliam & Iyengar, 2000; Valentino, Hutchings, & White, 2002). Despite the support that has been found for the negative effects of priming an outgroup stereotype on intergroup attitudes, the process through which these effects occur has mainly been explored through a cognitive perspective (e.g., Dixon, 2006, Dixon & Azocar, 2007). This research, however, has failed to elucidate the intergroup mechanisms driving individual differences in priming effects. Self-categorization theory (Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & Wetherell, 1987) provides these insights by addressing who is more likely to demonstrate priming effects and in what context this is likely to occur. Focusing on the Latin lover stereotype, the goal of this study is to elucidate the process through which stereotype priming affects subsequent evaluations by employing a self-categorization theory approach.

15 STEREOTYPE OF LATIN PEOPLE AS PASSIONATE A common stereotype of Latin people is that they are passionate and romantic (McCrae, Terracciano, Realo, & Allik, 2007). Research on national character stereotypes reveals that Latin cultures share similar beliefs about their culture (McCrae at al., 2007). National character stereotypes are beliefs about a culture that are common to members of that culture. In a study looking at the national character of 49 different cultures, Puerto Rico scored among the highest in extraversion and openness, whereas Spain scored among the lowest in conscientiousness (Terracciano et al., 2005). Extraversion, openness, and a lack of conscientiousness are all in line with the stereotype that Latin people are passionate (McCrae et al., 2007). That is, extraverts are assertive and seek excitement. They seek stimulation from others and draw attention to themselves. Openness refers to the extent that people are aware of their feelings and have an appreciation for adventure. People low on conscientiousness have low self-discipline, cannot control their impulses, and engage in spontaneous behavior. Moreover, multi-dimensional scaling of the scores from the different cultures revealed a tendency for Latin nations (e.g., Italy, Spain, Puerto Rico, Portugal, and Brazil) to define one side of the plot. These countries were clustered together, indicating that they shared similarities in terms of extraversion, openness, and low conscientiousness. Focusing on Americans’ perceptions of Latin people, in 1933, Katz and Braly set out to evaluate which traits are perceived to be characteristic of various ethnic groups. In their study, they asked American students to select from a list of 84 traits the five most typical traits of members of different ethnic groups, including Italians. Their results

16 showed that American students most highly endorsed the attributes of passionate, impulsive, quick-tempered, artistic, and musical with Italians. There also was a high degree of consensus in the sample regarding their beliefs of Italians. Nearly 70 years after the original study, similar results still emerged for the stereotype held for Italians (Madon, Guyll, Aboufadel, Montiel, Smith, Palumbo, & Jussim, 2001). Specifically, in a sample comprising of European American and non-European American participants, among the attributes mostly endorsed by participants as characteristic of Italians were passionate (endorsed by 39% of the sample) and quick-tempered (endorsed by 36% of the sample). This study also revealed that Italians are perceived as being very religious, loyal to family ties, and tradition loving. Of note, even though passionate was an attribute endorsed for Italians, it was not at all endorsed for Americans. Similarly, suave and romantic were attributes that were highly endorsed as attributes “much more characteristic of Italians than other people” (p. 1002) and not at all endorsed for Americans. Altogether, these data support the notion that the stereotype of the passionate Latin person is widely-shared. The current study was designed to assess the application of this stereotype. In general, it set out to investigate whether the stereotype is applied to evaluations of Latino individuals, such that they are judged in stereotypical terms. The study involved a design featuring Latino and White male targets. An application of the stereotype would be observed is if the Latino target is seen as more passionate than the White target. The design also involved the presentation of romantic and non-romantic female targets of ambiguous ethnicity. Application of the stereotype would be observed if

17 the romantic woman is judged as more likely Latina than the non-romantic woman. This is because the romantic woman is displaying attitudes that are in line with the stereotype for Latinos. Based on this contention, the following hypotheses were developed. H1: A Latino male target will be perceived as more romantic than a White male target. H2: A romantic female target will be perceived as more likely Latina than will a relationally-committed female target.

18 PORTRAYALS OF LATINOS AND THE LATIN LOVER Stereotypes of Latinos extend to portrayals of the group in the media environment. Latino portrayals on television can be evaluated in terms of numeric representation as well as quality of representation. When it comes to quantitative representation, content analytic research reveals that this group is underrepresented compared to its actual population in the U.S. (Children Now, 2004; Mastro & Behm- Morawitz, 2005; Mastro & Greenberg, 2000). Specifically, at 15 percent of the U.S. population, Latinos constitute the largest ethnic minority group. However, this ethnic group is drastically underrepresented on television, only accounting for 3.9 percent of the character population on primetime television across five major broadcast networks (Mastro & Behm-Morawitz, 2005). Moreover, even though Latino representation in starring roles has increased over the years, more Latino characters are found in secondary than primary roles. This is contrasted with White and African American characters, who are found more in primary than secondary roles (Children Now, 2004). The sheer numeric representation of Latinos on television is important because it speaks to the group’s vitality in society, which refers to the group’s relative position in society (Giles, Bourhis, & Taylor, 1977). The degree of representation that a group receives in various institutions, including the mass media, affects the group’s subjective vitality. That is, the more support a group perceives they receive from societal institutions, the more vitality they perceive their group to possess. Research on the quality of Latino portrayals on mainstream television indicates that the media has the tendency to depict this ethnic group as aggressive. For instance,

19 this ethnic group is more likely to be found in dramas on prime-time television (Children Now, 2004). Additionally, even though the most common occupation held by Latino characters is that of law enforcement officers, the second most common occupation they held was that of criminals (Children Now, 2004). Further examination of the nature of Latino portrayals indicates that these characters tend to serve negative story functions, such as being the villains on a show (Harwood & Anderson, 2002) and are likely to be found discussing issues dealing with crime (Mastro & Behm-Morawitz, 2005). Latinos can also be found occupying roles of lower job and social authority than Whites (Children Now, 2004; Mastro & Behm-Morawitz, 2005). This imagery of Latinos gains significance when considering that depictions of Latinos as lawbreakers outnumber depictions of Latinos as victims of crime or as law defenders on news stories (Dixon & Linz, 2000a, 2000b). Even though the majority of the research looking at ethnic group portrayals has focused on portrayals of these groups as criminals and lawbreakers, another stereotype that is commonly associated with Latino portrayals is that of the Latin lover (Ramírez Berg, 2002). This portrayal is rooted in seeing Latinos as objects of desire and its origin can be traced to the 1921 Rudolph Valentino film The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In the film, Valentino portrays an Argentine gaucho who dances tango with a woman. In the scene, the woman is dancing with another partner, but Valentino’s character cuts in, sweeps her into his arms and they dance in unison (Leider, 2004). This scene, and this movie, proclaimed a new kind of lover to the American audience, one that combines “suavity and sensuality, tenderness and sexual danger” (Ramírez Berg, 1990, p. 296).

20 To this day, the Latin lover is characterized by his well-groomed and smoldering appearance, exoticness, and aggressive sexual drive. The Latin lover is irresistible to women, who are easily seduced by him. Mastro and Behm-Morawitz (2005) revealed that while the occurrence of Latinos portrayed as “bandidos” is declining, portrayals of Latinos as “Latin lovers” is still common in prime-time television. In particular, they note that Latinos of both sexes were younger than their White or Black counterparts and that Latinos were deemed more physically attractive among the men. Additionally, Latinos were significantly more likely than Whites or Blacks to be inappropriately dressed. Finally, when it comes to men, Latinos were slimmer than both Whites and Blacks (Mastro & Behm-Morawitz, 2005).

21 EFFECTS OF EXPOSURE TO ETHNIC GROUP STEREOTYPES Research on the effects of exposure to ethnic group stereotypes illustrates likely outcomes derived from exposure to these. For example, Busselle and Crandall (2002) found that exposure to specific television genres affects viewers’ perceptions of African Americans in society. The authors submit that situation comedies and news programming present African Americans in dichotomized ways, which, through exposure, lead viewers to draw different evaluations of the ethnic group in society. In situation comedies, African Americans are portrayed as affluent and educated. However, in television news, African Americans are portrayed as poor and associated with criminality. Thus, the authors expected different outcomes from exposure to each genre. When it comes to situation comedies, the authors found that increased exposure to the genre is positively related to the perceived educational attainment achieved by African Americans. However, increased exposure to television news is positively related to the belief that lack of socioeconomic success for African Americans is due to a lack of motivation on their part. Vergeer, Lubbers, and Scheepers (2000) found further support for the contention that media messages become incorporated into consumers’ intergroup cognitions. In particular, the authors found that exposure to a conservative newspaper known for depicting ethnic minority groups negatively was associated with perceiving ethnic minority groups as threatening in society. Research looking specifically at the effects of exposure to portrayals of Latinos has revealed that these images become incorporated into viewers’ intergroup cognitions. For example, research on the effects of exposure to Latino stereotypes on television has

22 revealed that the images people consume affect their perceptions of Latinos in the real world (Mastro, Behm-Morawitz, & Ortiz, 2006). Specifically, Mastro et al. found that perceptions of Latino criminality on television were directly associated with perceptions of Latinos as socially deviant in society. Moreover, this relationship was stronger for heavy television viewers than for light television viewers. Similarly, Mastro (2003) found that White viewers were less apt to justify the negative behavior of a Latino target than that of a White target. Moreover, the findings from this study suggest that White viewers’ self-esteem increased when exposed to a Latino criminal. These results can be interpreted through a social identity perspective, wherein viewers’ social identities become salient and are incorporated into the media viewing experience, thus affecting subsequent evaluations of the content. As discussed above, effects from exposure to ethnic group stereotypes may derive from prolonged, repeated exposure; however, they can also result from exposure to a single media portrayal. Specifically, priming research informs us that exposure to an ethnic group stereotype affects immediate, subsequent judgments of the primed category. Therefore, priming the stereotype of the Latin lover should affect the evaluations that are drawn regarding Latinos’ romantic intentions. Employing the Latin lover stereotype and guided by priming research, this study will examine some of the effects that exposure to this common representation of Latinos has on viewers’ perceptions of the group’s romantic intentions. After establishing the connection between priming the Latin lover stereotype and subsequent judgments, the tenets from self-categorization theory will be

23 incorporated into the priming paradigm to explain individual differences in priming effects.

24 MEDIA PRIMING Priming refers to the process by which information associated with a recently activated construct comes to mind more easily than information that has not been activated. This information is then used to interpret incoming stimuli (Power et al., 1996). Research on priming has shown that activation of a stereotype affects subsequent judgments such that these are in line with the activated stereotype (Bargh & Chartrand, 1999). Research on priming ethnic group stereotypes in the media has focused on the overrepresentation of African Americans as perpetrators of crime. This line of research has shown that exposure to an African American perpetrator negatively influences White viewers’ subsequent evaluations and judgments of African Americans (e.g., Gilliam & Iyengar, 2000; Peffley, Shields, & Williams, 1996). For example, Power et al. (1996) found that exposure to a stereotypic representation of an African American increased the likelihood of making internal attributions to African Americans involved in unrelated negative events. Thus, exposure to an ethnic group stereotype affected subsequent judgments. Assessing the effects of televised portrayals of ethnic minority criminals, Peffley et al. (1996) found that manipulating the race of a suspect pictured in a crime news story activated the negative stereotype of criminality among White viewers. The activated stereotype influenced evaluations of the suspect along racial lines, such that participants viewed the African American as guiltier, more deserving of punishment, and more likely to commit future violence than the White suspect. In a similar study, Gilliam and Iyengar (2000) manipulated the race of a suspect featured in a crime news story. They found that

25 among White viewers, presenting the African American perpetrator increased support for punitive approaches to crime and increased negative attitudes toward African Americans. Given that empirical research supports the contention that priming criminality leads individuals to draw evaluations that are in line with the activated stereotype, similar results can be expected when priming romance instead. Priming effects will be investigated in the current study using an experimental design. As previously described, participants will make judgments of unrelated White and Latino male targets and of ethnically-ambiguous women. However, before making their judgments, participants will be primed with either romantic or non-romantic behavior featuring a Latino or White protagonist. Following the prime, participants will also be asked to make compatibility ratings between the male and female targets. When primed with romance, it is expected that individuals will evaluate others through the activated stereotype and perceive them as passionate. Given that the stereotype of Latinos as passionate is widely-shared, when exposed to a movie clip featuring a Latino protagonist, the stereotype of Latinos as passionate is likely to be activated. This activated stereotype will lead individuals to perceive other Latinos in line with the activated stereotype for romance. Similarly, when primed with Latinos, people are likely to perceive an ethnically-ambiguous woman as more likely Latina if she displays attitudes related to romance and passion than if she displays attitudes that are not related to passion. The following hypotheses were developed based on this discussion. H3: Participants will judge male targets as more passionate when they are exposed to romantic, as compared to non-romantic behavior.

26 H4: Participants will judge male targets as more passionate when they are exposed to a Latino, as compared to a White protagonist. H5: Participants will rank a romantic female target as more likely Latina than they do a relationally-committed female target when they are exposed to a Latino, as compared to a White protagonist. It is also expected that the effects of the primed behavior (romantic or non- romantic) will vary depending on who is enacting the behavior (in the prime) and on who is being evaluated following the prime. For instance, when a Latino protagonist engages in romantic behavior, exposure to this clip is more likely to affect the evaluations of an unrelated Latino target than those of an unrelated White target. Indeed, when the Latin lover stereotype is primed, the unrelated Latino target will be judged according to his fit with the stereotype. Because this target is Latino, there is a greater likelihood of forming an impression consistent with the stereotype. In other words, the target’s ethnicity will serve as a cue for categorizing him as a Latin lover. Because Latin lovers are known for being passionate and romantic, the unrelated Latino target will be perceived as romantic following exposure to the romantic Latino protagonist. Following this line of thinking, a White target will be perceived as more romantic following exposure to a clip featuring a romantic White protagonist than a clip featuring a romantic Latino protagonist. That is, the effects of the prime are more likely to generalize for the White target if his ethnicity corresponds to the protagonist’s ethnicity. Alternatively, Latin lovers are not characteristically known for being committed in romantic relationships. Therefore,

27 following exposure to the romantic Latino protagonist, judgments about an unrelated Latino target’s level of relational commitment will decline. H6: The effect in H3 will be stronger for the Latino target in the Latino protagonist condition. H7: The effect in H3 will be stronger for the White target in the White protagonist condition. H8: (a) Participants will judge a Latino male target as less relationally committed when they are exposed to romantic, as compared to non-romantic behavior; (b) this effect will be stronger when the protagonist is Latino than when he is White. As previously noted, the design of this study involves the presentation of multiple ethnically ambiguous female targets, one of whom displays a passionate love style and one who does not display a passionate love style. If an unrelated Latino target can be evaluated in terms of his fit to the Latin lover stereotype based on his ethnicity, likewise an ethnically-ambiguous female target can be perceived as fitting the category if she exemplifies behaviors or attitudes that are in line with the Latin lover stereotype. That is, the female target’s ambiguous ethnicity, coupled with her passionate love style, is likely to be incorporated into the evaluations that are drawn of her. Specifically, upon being primed with the Latin lover stereotype, individuals will associate the target’s attitudes and behaviors with the activated stereotype and perceive her as Latina. Similarly, an ethnically-ambiguous target that exemplifies attitudes and behaviors that are in contrast

28 to the primed stereotype is less likely to be perceived as Latina. Based on these contentions, the following hypotheses were developed: H9: (a) Participants will rank a romantic female target as more likely Latina when they are exposed to romantic, as compared to non-romantic behavior; (b) this effect will be stronger when the protagonist is Latino than when he is White. H10: (a) Participants will rank a relationally-committed female target as less likely Latina when they are exposed to romantic, as compared to non- romantic behavior; (b) this effect will be stronger when the protagonist is Latino than when he is White. When asked to make judgments of romantic compatibility between the male and the female targets, the prime should affect the judgments that are made. Based on earlier predictions, exposure to romantic behavior leads individuals to perceive others as more romantic. Thus, if the male targets are perceived as romantic following exposure to the romantic clip, then they will be seen as more relationally-compatible with a romantic woman than with a woman who does not endorse romantic attitudes. H11: Perceived romantic compatibility will be higher between the male targets and the female target displaying a passionate love style than between the male targets and the female target not displaying said love style when participants are exposed to romantic, compared to non-romantic behavior. When taking the ethnicity of the protagonist and of the target into consideration, more specific predictions about compatibility rating can be derived. For instance, exposure to a clip featuring a romantic Latino protagonist will prime the Latin lover

29 stereotype. Due to his ethnicity, the Latino male target will be perceived as endorsing a passionate love style. Consequently, his compatibility with the female target that also endorses a passionate love style will be evaluated as higher than will his compatibility with the female whose love style is not in line with the stereotype. Likewise, exposure to a White romantic protagonist will affect perceptions of the White male target’s love style. This target will be seen as more romantic; therefore, he will be more compatible with the romantic woman than with the non-romantic woman. Thus: H12: The effect in H11 will be stronger for the compatibility ratings involving the Latino male target in the Latino protagonist condition. H13: The effect in H11 will be stronger for the compatibility ratings involving the White male target in the White protagonist condition. H14: Perceptions of the Latino male target’s passionate and committed love style will mediate the relationship hypothesized in H12. H15: Perceptions of the White male target’s passionate love style will mediate the relationship hypothesized in H13. Additionally, perceptions of the female target’s ethnicity should also affect judgments of romantic compatibility between the females and the Latino male target. In other words, the extent to which the women are perceived as Latina influences the degree to which they will be paired with the Latino male target. Research on interethnic romantic relationships reveals that people hold certain stereotypes and prejudices against this type of relationship that lead them to draw negative evaluations of them (Gaines, Buriel, Liu, & Rios, 1997). For example, outsiders to a relationship perceive interethnic

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Abstract: Media effects research has yet to shed light on the effects of exposure to the stereotype of Latinos as passionate and seductive (i.e., Latin lovers). Research on priming ethnic group stereotypes indicates that the activated stereotype affects subsequent evaluations of members of the ethnic group. This study looked at the effects of priming the Latin lover stereotype on participants' judgments of unrelated targets. A self-categorization theory approach was invoked to account for individual differences in priming effects, by assessing the role that ethnicity salience and stereotype endorsement play in priming effects. The experiment found little support for the effects of priming the Latin lover stereotype. Ethnicity accessibility and stereotype endorsement mainly moderated priming effects dealing with perceptions of an unrelated White male target's romanticism, perceptions of an unrelated Latino male target's relational commitment, perceptions of a relationally-committed female target's ethnicity, and compatibility ratings involving the relationally-committed female target. Reasons for the weak priming results are discussed.