Interactive Effects of Obvious and Ambiguous Social Categories on Perceptions of Leadership: When Double-Minority Status May Be Beneficial

John Paul Wilson, Jessica D. Remedios, Nicholas O. Rule

15 Scopus citations


Easily perceived identities (e.g., race) may interact with perceptually ambiguous identities (e.g., sexual orientation) in meaningful but elusive ways. Here, we investigated how intersecting identities impact impressions of leadership. People perceived gay Black men as better leaders than members of either single-minority group (i.e., gay or Black). Yet, different traits supported judgments of the leadership abilities of Black and White targets; for instance, warmth positively predicted leadership judgments for Black men but dominance positively predicted leadership judgments for White men. These differences partly occurred because of different perceptions of masculinity across the intersection of race and sexual orientation. Indeed, both categorical (race and sex) and noncategorical (trait) social information contributed to leadership judgments. These findings highlight differences in the traits associated with leadership in Black and White men, as well as the importance of considering how intersecting cues associated with obvious and ambiguous groups moderate perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-900
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017



  • intersectionality
  • leadership
  • person perception
  • race
  • sexual orientation

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