, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 621-641
Date: 02 Sep 2012

The Influence of President Obama’s, Middle Name on Middle Eastern and U.S. Perceptions

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Abstract

In a series of cross-cultural experiments, we explore whether mentioning President Obama’s middle name facilitates or impedes his delicate position as a peace broker. Our results show that including Obama’s middle name affects perceptions of Obama and his proposals for the Middle East among Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. We examine whether the use of Obama’s middle name inspires the same reactions in the United States by replicating the study among those who sympathize with Israelis and those who sympathize with Palestinians. Results show that the effect of Obama’s middle name differs in the United States. This study has important implications, not only for the President Obama’s standing in the Arab world and for the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, but also for our understanding of subtle ethnic cues and biases across cultural contexts.