Academic Field

Psychology

Faculty Mentor Name

Meagan Curtis

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Racial bias exerts an influence on many aspects of human behavior, ranging from the evaluation of job applicants to racial profiling by law enforcement officers. Societal efforts need to be made to reduce racial bias. This experiment investigated whether racial bias can be reduced by introducing a positive stimulus that is associated with the target race. Specifically, we attempted to reduce racial biases by introducing a positive pop song that was associated with a musician of a particular race. We assessed bias by having individuals complete the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which is a task that tests the strength of the association between to concepts. We used the version of the IAT that tests the association between race and positive and negative terms. When each participant entered the lab, a song was playing and a Spotify screen showed a white musician, a black musician, or no musician. The experimenter had ostensibly been listening to the song before the participant came in, and she turned the song off after each participant completed the consent form. Participants then completed the IAT. Participants were also asked to complete a questionnaire about their experience of the experiment, the Big Five Personality Inventory, and the Modern Racism Scale. IAT scores across the three conditions have the potential to reveal whether introducing a positive racial associate—something as simple as a song—can reduce racial bias. Specific results and their implications will be discussed.

Keywords

racial bias, music, IAT, implicit associates test

Start Date

10-4-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

10-4-2015 2:45 PM

Location

SERC House of Fields

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Apr 10th, 2:00 PM Apr 10th, 2:45 PM

Can music be used to reduce racial bias?

SERC House of Fields

Racial bias exerts an influence on many aspects of human behavior, ranging from the evaluation of job applicants to racial profiling by law enforcement officers. Societal efforts need to be made to reduce racial bias. This experiment investigated whether racial bias can be reduced by introducing a positive stimulus that is associated with the target race. Specifically, we attempted to reduce racial biases by introducing a positive pop song that was associated with a musician of a particular race. We assessed bias by having individuals complete the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which is a task that tests the strength of the association between to concepts. We used the version of the IAT that tests the association between race and positive and negative terms. When each participant entered the lab, a song was playing and a Spotify screen showed a white musician, a black musician, or no musician. The experimenter had ostensibly been listening to the song before the participant came in, and she turned the song off after each participant completed the consent form. Participants then completed the IAT. Participants were also asked to complete a questionnaire about their experience of the experiment, the Big Five Personality Inventory, and the Modern Racism Scale. IAT scores across the three conditions have the potential to reveal whether introducing a positive racial associate—something as simple as a song—can reduce racial bias. Specific results and their implications will be discussed.