Attention and working memory biases to black and Asian faces during intergroup contexts

Guadalupe D.S. Gonzalez, David Schnyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Categorizing and individual as a racial ingroup or outgroup member results in processing and memory differences. However, despite processing differences for racial ingroups and outgroups, very little is known about processing of racial ingroup and outgroup members during intergroup contexts. Thus, the present research investigated attention and memory differences for racial ingroup and outgroup members during competition for attention (i.e., intergroup contexts). In experiment 1, event-related potentials (ERPs) were obtained while participants completed a working memory task that presented 4 faces (2 Black, 2 White) at once then, following a short delay, were probed to indicate the spatial location of one of the faces. Participants showed better location memory for Black than White faces. During encoding, ERP results revealed differences based on the race of the face in P300 amplitudes, such that there was greater motivated processing when attending to Black faces. At probe, the N170 indicated enhanced early processing of Black faces and greater LPCs were associated with better recollection of Black face location. In a follow-up study using the same task, we examined attention and working memory biases for Asian and White faces in Caucasian and Asian participants. Results for both Caucasian and Asian participants indicated better working memory for Asian relative to White faces. Together, results indicate that during intergroup contexts, racial minority faces capture attention, resulting in better memory for those faces. The study underscores that examining racial biases with single stimuli paradigms obscures important aspects of attention and memory biases during intergroup contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2743
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume9
Issue numberJAN
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 9 2019

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Short-Term Memory
Evoked Potentials
Racism

Keywords

  • ERP
  • Intergroup contexts
  • Own-race bias
  • Racial bias
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Attention and working memory biases to black and Asian faces during intergroup contexts. / Gonzalez, Guadalupe D.S.; Schnyer, David.

In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 9, No. JAN, 2743, 09.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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