How does intergroup anxiety affect the activation of implicit racial evaluations and stereotypes? Given the common basis of social anxiety and implicit evaluative processes in memory systems linked to classical conditioning and affect, we predicted that intergroup anxiety would amplify implicit negative racial evaluations. Implicit stereotyping, which is associated primarily with semantic memory systems, was not expected to increase as a function of intergroup anxiety. This pattern was observed among White participants preparing to interact with Black partners, but not those preparing to interact with White partners. These findings shed new light on how anxiety, often elicited in real-life intergroup interactions, can affect the operation of implicit racial biases, suggesting that intergroup anxiety has more direct implications for affective and evaluative forms of implicit bias than for implicit stereotyping. These findings also support a memory-systems model of the interplay between emotion and cognition in the context of social behavior.
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