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Imprisoned Imperceptions: Inaccuracy in Incarceration Demographic Stereotypes
Unformatted Document Text:  Incarceration Beliefs indicating a significant difference from zero for each of the raw discrepancy scores. Based on the standards described earlier, the average of the participants’ estimates of the proportion of the prison population that were high school graduates and mentally ill were inaccurate; the other four estimates were near misses. Assessing consensual-level stereotype accuracy: Correlations. Next, we assessed how well the consensual stereotypes corresponded with the actual demographics of the prison population. We did this by correlating the estimated percentage (Column 3 from Table 2) with the actual percentages of the population comprised by each group (Column 2 from Table 2). Because we are correlating means (not individuals) with population percentages, and because there are only six such means, we do not report a test of significance. Nonetheless, the correlation coefficient still provides a good assessment of the extent to which the consensual stereotypes corresponded with reality. The correlation of the consensual stereotype with the population percentages, r= .55, is accurate as per the standards described in the introduction. Assessing individual-level accuracy: Discrepancies. Results so far focused on consensual stereotypes. The present section focuses on individual stereotypes. How many people’s judgments were accurate, near misses, or inaccurate? The last three columns of Table 2 indicate the number of participants whose estimates were within 10 percentage points (accurate), within 20 points (near miss), and over 20 points (inaccurate). Participants appear to be the most accurate in their estimates of Latinos in prison, and quite inaccurate in their estimates of high school graduates in prison. There was a fairly even distribution of accurate estimates, near misses, and inaccurate estimates for the other four social groups (females, the mentally ill, Blacks, and Whites). Assessing individual-level stereotype accuracy: Correlations. At the individual level of analysis, each participant’s estimated proportion was correlated with the actual proportion in each demographic group (Column 2 from Table 2). In this manner, we computed an individual-level 16

Authors: Ragusa, Laura.
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Incarceration Beliefs
indicating a significant difference from zero for each of the raw discrepancy scores. Based on the 
standards described earlier, the average of the participants’ estimates of the proportion of the prison 
population that were high school graduates and mentally ill were inaccurate; the other four estimates 
were near misses.  
Assessing consensual-level stereotype accuracy: Correlations. Next, we assessed how well 
the consensual stereotypes corresponded with the actual demographics of the prison population. We 
did this by correlating the estimated percentage (Column 3 from Table 2) with the actual percentages 
of the population comprised by each group (Column 2 from Table 2).  Because we are correlating 
means (not individuals) with population percentages, and because there are only six such means, we 
do not report a test of significance. Nonetheless, the correlation coefficient still provides a good 
assessment of the extent to which the consensual stereotypes corresponded with reality. The 
correlation of the consensual stereotype with the population percentages, r= .55, is accurate as per the 
standards described in the introduction. 
Assessing individual-level accuracy: Discrepancies. Results so far focused on consensual 
stereotypes.  The present section focuses on individual stereotypes.  How many people’s judgments 
were accurate, near misses, or inaccurate?  The last three columns of Table 2 indicate the number of 
participants whose estimates were within 10 percentage points (accurate), within 20 points (near 
miss), and over 20 points (inaccurate).  Participants appear to be the most accurate in their estimates 
of Latinos in prison, and quite inaccurate in their estimates of high school graduates in prison. There 
was a fairly even distribution of accurate estimates, near misses, and inaccurate estimates for the 
other four social groups (females, the mentally ill, Blacks, and Whites). 
Assessing individual-level stereotype accuracy: Correlations. At the individual level of 
analysis, each participant’s estimated proportion was correlated with the actual proportion in each 
demographic group (Column 2 from Table 2).  In this manner, we computed an individual-level 

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