• Effects of Geographical Upbringing and Intergroup Contact on Racial Attitudes

      Prisco, Janine M. (2010-03-18)
      The repercussions of racism can range from ignorance and neglect to injury and even death. Ways to decrease attitudes of racism have been debated for centuries, resulting in various theories. The contact hypothesis, a half-century old idea, states that increased intergroup contact can decrease negative attitudes. Research has also found the quality of contact between racial groups plays an important role in increasing positive racial attitudes. The current study tests this theory and further theorizes that individuals from rural environments will report greater racism than individuals from urban environments. African American (n=57) and Caucasian (n=176) participants were asked about where they grew up (to assess urban/rural status), quantity and quality of contact with the racial out-group growing up, and their current racial attitudes. Overall, results suggest that the roles of quantity and quality of contacts are significant factors in predicting interracial prejudice, while area of upbringing was not.
    • Implicit bias and moral responsibility: does ingroup membership matter?

      Greiser, Melissa (2021-05)
      Implicit bias seems to be at the heart of a number of pressing societal problems. Efforts have been made to reduce bias through spreading information about implicit attitudes and implementing bias training programs. To adequately address these issues, though, greater attention needs to be given to how individuals process and respond to information about implicit bias. The current study explored moral judgments of behaviors stemming from implicit bias judgments, with a focus on gender-based discrimination. We also considered how ingroup status (sharing the same gender as the perpetrator) may affect these judgments. Participants read a short scenario about a man or woman who exhibited either implicit or explicit bias toward the opposite gender; participants then reported their judgments of the perpetrator’s moral responsibility. Results revealed that less responsibility was attributed to behavior stemming from implicit (relative to explicit) bias. Implicit bias reduced responsibility regardless of whether or not the perpetrator was an ingroup member (same gender as the participant). Additionally, both male and female participants held the male perpetrator more responsible for his actions than the female perpetrator. This research provides a clearer picture of how people evaluate implicit bias, which is central to understanding why implicitly biased behaviors often result in minor consequences for the perpetrators. Future research should seek to more fully understand how individuals process and respond to information regarding implicit bias in an effort to reduce any potential negative consequences of spreading such information and construct the most effective methods for reducing bias.
    • Working with your enemy : out-group cooperation's effect on reducing bias

      Betancourt, Kian (2019-12)
      Prior research has shown that in-group identification does not necessarily lead to out-group derogation or bias, and certain conditions are necessary to have one result in the other. One such instance is that of a shared perceived conflict or threat, whereby we reconceptualize our prior thinking of in/out-group dynamics according to what is needed in a conflict (e.g., prior out-group now becomes an in-group if forced to cooperate against a threat). The current study used a video game as a means to measure in/out group dynamics in cooperative and competitive gameplay, in order to examine potential effects of group dynamics on general helping attitudes, out-group bias, and perceived out-group altruism.