Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Dr. Tiffany A. Ito

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine how executive function (EF) ability modulates stereotype-derived responses on a specific implicit bias task at different response window lengths. Each participant completed two EF tasks and one version of the weapon identification task (WIT). The EF tasks were used to measure participants’ abilities to control their responses and the WIT was used as a measure of implicit racial bias. It was found that participants made more stereotypical misidentifications at shorter response windows and responded faster to stereotype-congruent trials at longer response windows, both of which directly replicate previous research. But, EF ability could only be used to predict bias in reaction times. This finding does not replicate previous research findings for stereotypical misidentifications, despite similarities in experimental design between this study and previous research. Because of the low number of participants per condition and the lack of consistent patterns of results, there are significant limitations in the conclusions that can be drawn from this study. Reasons for why the results were sporadically significant are discussed.

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