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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2004 Dec;30(12):1611-24.

A threat in the computer: the race implicit association test as a stereotype threat experience.

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  • 1Oberlin College, Department of Psychology, OH, USA.


Three experiments test whether the threat of appearing racist leads White participants to perform worse on the race Implicit Association Test (IAT) and whether self-affirmation can protect from this threat. Experiments 1 and 2 suggest that White participants show a stereotype threat effect when completing the race IAT, leading to stronger pro-White scores when the test is believed to be diagnostic of racism. This effect increases for domain-identified (highly motivated to control prejudice) participants (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, self-affirmation inoculates participants against stereotype threat while taking the race IAT. These findings have methodological implications for use of the race IAT and theoretical implications concerning the malleability of automatic prejudice and the potential interpersonal effects of the fear of appearing racist.

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