The New ?Nature? of Prejudice: Measuring Stereotypes Implicitly and Explicitly-A Pilot Study

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The study of racial attitudes has intrigued social psychologists for years. However, because of social norms reinforcing political correctness and social desirability effects, it has become difficult to get an accurate picture of what contemporary racial attitudes look like. This study examined both explicit measures of racial attitudes, otherwise known as self-reports, as well as implicit measures, which are subtle behavioral measures, in order to better understand racial dynamics today. Explicit measures included McConahay?s 1981 Modern Racism Scale, and a measure of social identity group membership and perceived significance. The implicit measure was the Implicit Association Test, which tests the automatic operation of stereotypes by asking participants to classify good and bad words and Black and White faces in various combinations (Greenwald et al, 1998). The explicit measure revealed little racial bias. However, the implicit measure revealed bias, in that subjects more quickly associated good words (love, beauty) with White images than with Black images. Correlation coefficients were computed to test the relationship between this implicit racism score, the explicit racism score from the Modern Racism Scale, the participants? ratings of importance of racial identity to them and the item asking how often they thought about their race. The implicit racism score was significantly negatively correlated with the importance of racial identity score r = -.52, df = 22, p < .01. People scoring high in implicit racism ascribed less importance to racial identification.


Anne Schell




Ford Research Endowment

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