Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Felicia Pratto, PhD; Monnica Williams, PhD; Blair T. Johnson, PhD

Field of Study

Psychological Sciences


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Hate crimes in the United States are a growing problem that communities and affected individuals are struggling to address. Little research has been conducted regarding victim and crime characteristics’ (specifically, the SES of victim and level of bias clearly present in the incident) effects on objective evaluation. This study contains three segments, each building off the last and incorporating additional manipulations to assess non-victim interpretation of possible hate crime events. Across all phases, participants were randomly presented with a fake news story depicting a possible hate crime, in which the victim’s socioeconomic status, race, character, and presence of a racial slur were manipulated. Likert items and qualitative questions were then asked. A significant main effect for SES was supported in Study 1, but was not found in Studies 2 and 3. However, significant main effects for race motivation were found, in which presence of a racial slur led participants to believe the event was more race motivated than when the slur was absent. Other hypotheses were not supported in Studies 2 and 3. Manipulation of victim character had no effect. Qualitative responses offer useful insight into participants’ expectations about hate crime schemas and offer a new perspective on how the general public views hate incidents and can be considered for social interventions and use by law enforcement.

Major Advisor

Felicia Pratto, PhD