Power effects on implicit prejudice and stereotyping: The role of intergroup face processing

Petra C. Schmid, David M. Amodio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Power is thought to increase discrimination toward subordinate groups, yet its effect on different forms of implicit bias remains unclear. We tested whether power enhances implicit racial stereotyping, in addition to implicit prejudice (i.e., evaluative associations), and examined the effect of power on the automatic processing of faces during implicit tasks. Study 1 showed that manipulated high power increased both forms of implicit bias, relative to low power. Using a neural index of visual face processing (the N170 component of the ERP), Study 2 revealed that power affected the encoding of White ingroup vs. Black outgroup faces. Whereas high power increased the relative processing of outgroup faces during evaluative judgments in the prejudice task, it decreased the relative processing of outgroup faces during stereotype trait judgments. An indirect effect of power on implicit prejudice through enhanced processing of outgroup versus ingroup faces suggested a potential link between face processing and implicit bias. Together, these findings demonstrate that power can affect implicit prejudice and stereotyping as well as early processing of racial ingroup and outgroup faces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-231
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2017



  • N170
  • Social power
  • face processing
  • implicit prejudice
  • implicit stereotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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