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Is Obama the Anti-Christ? Racial Priming, Extreme Criticisms of Barack Obama, and Attitudes Toward the 2008 US Presidential Candidates

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 46, pp. 863-866, 2010

4 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2011  

Tom Pyszczynski

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Matt Motyl

University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Illinois at Chicago

Carl Henthorn

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Kristel Gerow

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Date Written: February 17, 2011

Abstract

This study investigated the impact of subtle racial priming on the persuasive impact of criticisms of Barack Obama in the month prior to the 2008 presidential election. To prime Black or White race, participants wrote a paragraph about a student with a typical Black or White name. They then read editorials that accused Obama of being unpatriotic or being the Anti-Christ, or that listed his positions on major issues. Participants responded to both criticisms with diminished preferences for and more negative beliefs about Obama, but only when African-American race was primed. Interestingly, the Anti-Christ criticism increased preferences and positive beliefs about Obama in the absence of racial priming, suggesting this criticism may have lacked credibility under neutral conditions.

Keywords: Obama, Anti-Christ, Racism, Extremism, Political Attitudes, 2008, Election

Suggested Citation

Pyszczynski, Tom and Motyl, Matt and Henthorn, Carl and Gerow, Kristel, Is Obama the Anti-Christ? Racial Priming, Extreme Criticisms of Barack Obama, and Attitudes Toward the 2008 US Presidential Candidates (February 17, 2011). Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 46, pp. 863-866, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1763520

Tom Pyszczynski

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs ( email )

1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-7150
United States

Matt Motyl (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1007 W. Harrison St. (m/c 285)
Psychology Department
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1102 Behavioral Science Building (BSB)
Chicago, IL 60607-7137
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

Carl Henthorn

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs ( email )

1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-7150
United States

Kristel Gerow

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs ( email )

1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-7150
United States

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