The Effect of Name Choice on Stereotyping of International Students

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The Ohio State University

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People's names can convey their race, gender, age, social class, and other group memberships. People can encounter discrimination due to their names. For example, East Asian students who adopt English names are more likely to receive email responses from professors than students who use their original names. However, previous studies do not examine the mechanisms underlying the relationship between name choice and discrimination. In the present research, I examine how an individual's name may increase stereotyping of East Asian international students. In a two-cell, between-subjects experiment, I recruited 400 non-Hispanic White undergraduates. Participants encountered an East Asian student's photo and were randomly assigned to believe the target had an English name or went by their original name. Participants were then asked to imagine interacting with the target and answered questions based on their first impression. The results showed that participants in the original name condition were more likely to perceive the target as smart and intelligent compared to participants in the English name condition. Also, participants exhibited more self-disclosure to East Asian individuals in original name condition than in English name condition. However, name choice did not influence the extent to which participants viewed the target as cold and unfeeling, or awkward and unsociable. This research provides some evidence that name choice can influence how international students are perceived by White American students.


OSU 26th Denman Research Forum (Second Place)


Stereotype, Interracial Interaction, Intergroup Relationship, Culture