Anxiety associated with an intergroup interaction is often thought to interfere with the cognitive control of automatic racial stereotypes. However, this link remains elusive, as self-reported anxiety is not typically associated with assessments of control. The present research tested a neuroendocrine model for how intergroup anxiety may affect controlled processing. White participants met with a Black or White interviewer to discuss their racial attitudes and to complete a measure of stereotype inhibition. Baseline and post-interaction assessments of self-reported anxiety and salivary cortisol were obtained. Although self-reported anxiety was heightened for participants in the Black interviewer condition, it was not associated with control on the stereotyping task. Rather, greater cortisol reactivity to the interracial interaction predicted reduced controlled processing. This pattern was not observed in the White interviewer condition. Implications for theories of intergroup anxiety, self-regulation, and resource depletion are discussed.
- Interracial interaction
- Social psychoneuroendocrinology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science