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Recent research has shown that race can influence perceptions of men’s size and strength. Across two studies (Study 1: N = 1,032, Study 2: N = 303) examining men and women from multiple racial groups (Asian, Black, and White adults), we found that although race does impact judgments of size and strength, raters’ judgments primarily track targets’ objective physical features. In some cases, racial stereotypes actually improved group-level accuracy, as these stereotypes aligned with racial-group differences in size and strength according to nationally representative data. We conclude that individuals primarily rely on individuating information when making physical judgments but do not completely discount racial stereotypes, which reflect a combination of real group-level differences and culturally transmitted beliefs.



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Johnson, D. J., & Wilson, J. P. (2019). Racial bias in perceptions of size and strength: The impact of stereotypes and group differences. Psychological science, 30(4), 553-562.

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