The influence of stereotypes on decisions to shoot

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Abstract

Using a videogame to simulate encounters with potentially hostile targets, three studies tested a model in which racial bias in shoot/don't-shoot decisions reflects accessibility of the stereotype linking Blacks to danger. Study 1 experimentally manipulated the race-danger association by asking participants to read newspaper stories about Black (vs. White) criminals. As predicted, exposure to stories concerning Black criminals increased bias in the decision to shoot. Studies 2 and 3 manipulated the number of White and Black targets with and without guns in the context of the videogame itself. As predicted, frequent presentation of stereotypic (vs. counterstereotypic) targets exacerbated bias (Study 2) and—consistent with our process account—rendered stereotypes more accessible (Study 3). Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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