Date of Submission

Spring 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Justin Hulbert

Abstract/Artist's Statement

White American is generally accepted to be the culturally dominant race in America, though the psychological effects of racial imbalance are not fully understood. Such ambiguity invites the question of whether people of different racial backgrounds perceive racial bias differently. To explore this question, the present study primes individuals to perceive themselves as members of a different race using a Rubber Hand Illusion. While prior literature has found that the perceived ownership of an outgroup hand reduces preferential bias towards that outgroup for White Americans, (Farmer et al., 2014), I hypothesized that these effects would extend to Black Americans, which was yet unknown. I also extended my investigation to include a measure of racial identity bias (Knowles & Peng, 2005). Given American attitudes towards race, I predicted that this effect would be greater in Black Americans than in White Americans for both biases. The results indicate that the perceived ownership of an outgroup hand was different for White Americans and Black Americans. Surprisingly, participants using the opposite-race hand were more favorably biased towards their own race, suggesting an implicit opposition to being primed with the opposite race. This pattern was less prominent in Black Americans, possibly indicating that repeated exposure to similar, real-world experiences, such as beige colored “skin-tone” products, leads one to develop a resistance to changes in race-related biases and self-perceptions. As the mechanisms through which this might occur are not fully understood, future study might also consider the effects of race-neutral objects on both biases.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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