The Visual Narrative: The Effects of Visual Stereotypes on Social Media on Ethnic Discrimination

Last registered on February 06, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

The Visual Narrative: The Effects of Visual Stereotypes on Social Media on Ethnic Discrimination
Initial registration date
May 09, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 17, 2023, 2:13 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
February 06, 2024, 7:35 AM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

University of Tuebingen

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Tuebingen
PI Affiliation
University of Tuebingen

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
We conduct a correspondence test in the housing market to determine the extent of ethnic discrimination and the role of stereotypes expressed through images posted on a social media platform. Fictitious applications with a randomly assigned Turkish- or German-sounding male name are sent to vacant room ads. We randomly add a link to a social media profile to determine the effect of such personal information on callback rates. This social media profile may either foster or not foster Turkish male stereotypes. The profiles built on the profiles used in AEARCTR-0007627 and vary their content by some of them including additional visual material (photos and videos) that signal religious beliefs and cultural orientation to thus identify the role of the content of social media information on ethnic discrimination. We carefully constructed these fictional social media accounts on Instagram to make them as realistic as possible, and conducted several surveys among young people to ensure that the profiles were close to reality with a sufficient number of followers. In addition, we can approximate whether landlords or roommates visit these profiles and exploit this information using statistics on profile visits and page impressions.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Moritz, Raphael, Christian Manger and Kerstin Pull. 2024. "The Visual Narrative: The Effects of Visual Stereotypes on Social Media on Ethnic Discrimination." AEA RCT Registry. February 06.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Callback rates conditional on ethnicity and social media information (variation of information using stereotypical Turkish signal images).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We use a non-matched pair randomized controlled trial (correspondence test, between-subjects design) to test for ethnic discrimination in the shared housing market in Germany. To do so, we randomly vary the name of the applicant, which signals an ethnic minority or ethnic majority. The ethnic minority (majority) is signaled by the most average (in terms of callbacks) Turkish-(German-)sounding male name from the previous study (see AEARCTR-0007627). In addition, we create four social media profiles, two with additional information signaling cultural identification and religious beliefs, which address typical Turkish stereotypes (as held by the ethnic majority), and two without (Turkish) stereotypical images, representing an average student social media profile from the previous study. The submitted applications are similar in all aspects except for the parts that (a) signal the applicant's ethnicity, (b) whether it contains a link to the social media profile, and (c) the content of the profile (2x3 design).

Update (2023-10-27): Due to a design change on the platform during the trial, we add another variation with paid premium accounts that increase the visibility of applications from premium users. Thus, in addition to randomly varying (a) ethnicity, (b) social media profile link, (c) social media profile content (with/without Turkish stereotypical images), (d) we randomly vary whether the application is sent from a premium account (2x2x3 design). With this, we aim to investigate how increased visibility of applications (due to the platform design change) affects callback rates by ethnicity, and how providing additional information (social media*with/without Turkish stereotypical images) moderates this effect – compared to applications from non-premium users with lower visibility.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Computer generated (pseudo) randomization using a computer program (using Python).
Randomization Unit
Individual level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
3,500-4,000 (Update (2023-10-27): Due to a platform design change, we add another variation (premium/non-premium) and increase the number of planned observations by roughly 800-1,200.)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Assuming a 40.3% percent overall callback rate (from previous study) we will send out approximately 677 applications for each of the six treatment groups (immigrant/native*with/without stereotypical/non-stereotypical social media profile), resulting in 1,354 applications per treatment arm. Depending on the callback rate, this number may be lower or higher in the final sample.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials