Word, C. O., Zanna, M. P., Cooper, J. (1974). The nonverbal mediation of self-fulfilling prophecies in interracial interaction. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 10, 109-120.

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This article extends the literature suggesting that blackness is a stigmatizing trait, leading to less immediate nonverbal responses in an interview setting. In addition, the authors demonstrate that the poor performance of interviewees following such treatment can then be attributed to the interviewees’ reciprocal non-immediate responses. This nonverbal process is presented as an explanation of the operating mechanism of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Overtime, such processes may contribute to negative outcomes such as minority unemployment.

This article was important in two regards: first, it applied social psychology literature on stigmatization to the job interview setting, and second, it demonstrated the potential nonverbal mechanisms of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Therefore, this article is a classic both in its theoretical innovation and its practical applicability.

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