Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Josh Correll

Abstract

Two complementary theories attempt to explain differences in people’s attitudes towards other groups in various contexts. The intergroup contact hypothesis predicts a decrease in racial prejudice as a result of increased positive contact with out-group members. The group threat hypothesis, on the other hand, claims that majority populations will show increased prejudicial attitudes when they perceive that their majority status is threatened. The current research utilizes the outcome of region-level implicit bias to test these two theories. The intergroup contact hypothesis was tested by regressing average county bias scores from a first-person shooter task on counties’ proportions of Black residents, county segregation scores, and the interaction between the two. To test the group threat hypothesis, shooter bias scores were regressed on county change in proportion of Black residents from 2010 to 2017, segregation, and the interaction of the two. Results showed no evidence that any of these variables predicted shooter bias scores in a given county. However, while this study did not provide evidence for the expected effects, the effects could still exist and become apparent when examined using different variable measurements or regression models.

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