Race and Perceived Immorality in Stereotypes of Criminal Subtypes

Joseph J. Avery, Dong Won Oh, Joel Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In past research on criminal stereotypes, individuals of different races have been stereotyped as being more likely to commit certain types of crimes. In this article, we draw on the “bad is Black” heuristic and identify a fundamental underlying dimension explaining such divergence: offenses deemed immoral were associated with Black individuals, while those deemed wrong but not necessarily immoral were associated with White individuals. Our evidence came from a data-driven method that is novel to applied legal psychological research—reverse correlation to produce classification images—and that enabled us to visualize lay persons’ criminal stereotypes. We interpreted this theoretical advance through the lens of our legal institutional context, exploring applications and implications of the finding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-318
Number of pages12
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Race and Perceived Immorality in Stereotypes of Criminal Subtypes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this