Friday, January 13, 2017

Seeing faces of young black boys facilitates identification of threatening stimuli.

From Todd et al. (open source):
Pervasive stereotypes linking Black men with violence and criminality can lead to implicit cognitive biases, including the misidentification of harmless objects as weapons. In four experiments, we investigated whether these biases extend even to young Black boys (5-year-olds). White participants completed sequential priming tasks in which they categorized threatening and nonthreatening objects and words after brief presentations of faces of various races (Black and White) and ages (children and adults). Results consistently revealed that participants had less difficulty (i.e., faster response times, fewer errors) identifying threatening stimuli and more difficulty identifying nonthreatening stimuli after seeing Black faces than after seeing White faces, and this racial bias was equally strong following adult and child faces. Process-dissociation-procedure analyses further revealed that these effects were driven entirely by automatic (i.e., unintentional) racial biases. The collective findings suggest that the perceived threat commonly associated with Black men may generalize even to young Black boys.
Note: There is a correction to the description of experiment 3.

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