Measuring Skin Tone: A Test of Common Approaches

Mary E. Campbell , Texas A&M University
Verna Keith, University of Alabama at Birmingham

In this experiment, we compare three different ways of asking raters to evaluate skin tone, testing whether methods created to reduce interrater variation (such as using a color palette to create a “norm” for responses) are effective. We compare two popular scales: a text-based 5-point skin color scale (which asks raters to classify pictures on a scale from very light to very dark) and a 10-point palette-based skin color scale (which asks raters to choose a number from 1 to 10 with pictures associated with each number). We also ask raters to use a more complex two-axis color chart to rate pictures, in order to test whether addressing common criticisms of the palette-based scales improves ratings. White and Latinx experiment participants complete a demographic questionnaire and rate a randomly selected set of 16 pictures. We discuss results and future analyses.

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 Presented in Session 186. Measurement of Race and Gender