Turban effect

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Template:Islamophobia The turban effect is a term coined in a paper published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, whose lead author is Christian Unkelbach.[1] The paper reports on a study in which Australian participants played a video game involving shooting armed characters and refraining from shooting unarmed characters under time pressure. Researchers found that participants were more likely to shoot at individuals wearing turbans or hijabs than those without Muslim attire. Moreover, participants seemed unaware that they had this proclivity. This effect has since been found in a sample of university students in Saudi Arabia.[2]

Interpretation

The authors contend their study provides evidence of Islamophobia, and blame the media for negative portrayals of Muslims. They made no reference to previous military studies which showed the same effect on individuals wearing hoods or helmets, explained as dehumanization.

An opinion piece in The Guardian[3] by Jonathan Birdwell considered the alternative explanation "that the 'turban effect' does not reveal a deep-seated (and recently revived) prejudice, but rather our instinctual disposition towards inductive reasoning – that is, making predictions about the future on the basis of past experience."

References

Further reading

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