Intergroup anxiety effects on the control of racial stereotypes: A psychoneuroendocrine analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-67
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Keywords

  • Control
  • Cortisol
  • Emotion
  • Interracial interaction
  • Prejudice
  • Self-regulation
  • Social psychoneuroendocrinology
  • Stereotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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