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What's In A Name? Priming Effects On Implicit Prejudices

2472 words - 10 pages

What’s in a Name? Priming Effects on Implicit Prejudices
The proposed study aims to investigate the relationship between implicit prejudices and their effect on perception and judgment of others. Individuals generally hold specific prejudices towards their ingroups and outgroups and these can be deliberately or subconsciously expressed through explicit or implicit attitudes, respectively. Learning more about the relationship between the subconscious prejudicial attitudes people hold and how these affect perceptions of others is important if a better understanding of intergroup relations is to be made. More specifically, and relevant to the study at hand, investigating implicit prejudices White individuals have and how these affect their perceptions and impressions of stereotyped groups such as Black individuals, has important implications for how these perceptions shape behavior and social interactions between these two groups.
For example, Payne (2001) found that priming individuals with Black and White faces affected participants’ subsequent identification of objects as guns or tools. Results showed that priming of Black individuals led to a faster identification of guns, and a higher misinterpretation of tools for guns as opposed to those primed with White faces. In addition, Higgins, Rhodes & Jones (1977), demonstrated that priming specific traits influenced subsequent ratings and recall of information of an individual based on a written description, such that priming negative traits led to a more negative impression formation and characterization of the person stimulus. Applying this idea to Black and White word primes, Wittenbrink, Judd & Park (1997) showed that when individuals were semantically primed with either the words “Black” or “White”, a stronger association of Black with negative and stereotypical attributes was seen, while White primes demonstrated more positive attributes in relation to negative traits. Thus, implicit priming may activate hidden attitudes and prejudices that may contradict those that individuals believe they have or deliberately show. Dovidio, Gaertner & Kawakami (2002) found that a shorter timed response of implicit prejudice predicted spontaneous nonverbal behaviors, such that there was a negative bias from Whites towards Blacks, despite explicit self-report measures by Whites indicating a more positive bias. However, studies have shown that individuals can employ implicit motivational tactics to control these implicit attitudes to such an extent that these associations and negative biases are non-existent. Glaser & Knowles (2008) found that those who had an implicit motivation to control prejudice did not show an association between weapons with Blacks (as opposed to Whites) and the Shooter Bias—being more likely to “shoot” the Black individual quicker than the White individual. That is, participants were equally likely to “shoot” both White and Black individuals. It might be noteworthy then, to investigate...

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