Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Phrase of the Day: "The Turban Effect"

A Muslim-style turban is perceived as a threat, according to a new study, even by people who don't realize they hold the prejudice, dubbed "the turban effect" by researchers.

Research volunteers played a computer game that showed apartment balconies on which different figures appeared, some wearing Muslim-style turbans or hijabs and others bare-headed. They were told to shoot at the targets carrying guns and spare those who were unarmed, with points awarded accordingly.

People were much more likely to shoot Muslim-looking characters - men or women - even if they were carrying an innocent item instead of a weapon, the researchers found.

More here. Many thanks to The Situationist for the pointer:


  1. Nishant Dasgupta said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  2. Wavefunction said...

    There could be another interpretation apart from religious prejudice; turbans conceal a man's looks and make him more likely to be a shady character, irrespective of his religion or nationality.

  3. Tabula Rasa said...

    off the top of my head -- IRA, LTTE, FARC, ETA, Aum Shinrikyu... and that's without listing state-sponsored forces.

  4. Abi said...

    Thanks, TR, for that response to Rajeev. I wanted to say much the same thing, but I was preoccupied yesterday with the 'attack site' problem. I would add to your list a whole bunch of neo-Nazi movements in several countries, and India's very own Salwa Judum.

    This seems to be the first study on the Turban effect. I'm sure it will be replicated in other places and cultures. Let's wait for the verdict on how widespread this effect is, and what the causes might be.

  5. Abi said...

    Rajeev: Why should scale be important? What difference does it make to the victims if the terrorists were ants or elephants?

    And, since when have you started accepting the words of a bunch of lunatics when they say they represent over a billion people? If you don't want to check your opinions against reality / facts / evidence, and if you still want to stick to your poorly informed hot air, please use your own blog to vent it. Go away!