Sydney, July 16 : A University of New South Wales study has opined that Aussies are more likely to shoot at Muslims, especially if they're in a good mood.
The researchers say that Australians perceive Muslim-style headgear as a threat.
The study, published in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, involved 66 students playing a computer game in which different male and female figures appeared on a balcony.
Some figures were wearing Muslim-style turbans or hijabs while others were bare headed.
Participants were asked to shoot at the targets carrying guns and spare those who were unarmed.
Researchers found that those with Muslim-style headgear were more likely to be shot, even if they were carrying non-threatening items such as a coffee mug, with both male and female students demonstrating a bias.
They also found that while "angry" participants shot at everybody, "happy" people targeted Muslims.
"It's what we predicted. People in happy moods tend to rely on stereotyping more. It's like, I'm feeling good, there's no need to question things," The Herald Sun quoted Dr. Tom Denson, one of the researchers, as saying.
"Muslims tend to be portrayed negatively in the media so the findings make sense, even in an otherwise tolerant western society like Australia," he added.
Dr Denson insisted the study was not about aggressive behaviour, but about automatic processes that people go through when faced with quick decisions.
The study also showed that men were more likely to be targeted, a finding "consistent with other research findings that males are commonly seen as more threatening or dangerous".