Cognitive processes behind the shooter bias: Dissecting response bias, motor preparation and information accumulation


Frenken, Marius ; Hemmerich, Wanja ; Izydorczyk, David ; Scharf, Sophie E. ; Imhoff, Roland



DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2021.104230
URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/...
Additional URL: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/354883832...
Document Type: Article
Year of publication Online: 2022
The title of a journal, publication series: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume: 98
Issue number: Article 104230
Place of publication: Amsterdam [u.a.]
Publishing house: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-1031
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Allgemeine Psychologie (Bröder)
Subject: 150 Psychology
Keywords (English): implicit stereotyping , shooter task , shooter bias , racial bias , diffusion model
Abstract: A rich body of research points to racial biases in so-called police officer dilemma tasks: participants are generally faster and less error-prone to “shoot” (vs. not “shoot”) Black (vs. White) targets. In three experimental (and two supplemental) studies (total N = 914), we aimed at examining the cognitive processes underlying these findings under fully standardized conditions. To be able to dissect a-priori decision bias, biased information processing and motor preparation, we rendered video sequences of virtual avatars that differed in nothing but the tone of their skin. Modeling the data via drift diffusion models revealed that the threat of a social group can be explicitly learned and mapped accordingly on an a-priori response bias within the model (Study 1). Studies 2 and 3 replicated the racial shooter bias as apparent in faster reaction times in stereotype-consistent trials. This, however, appears to result from stereotype-consistent motoric preparations and execution readiness, but not from pre-judicial threat biases. The results have implications especially for automatic stereotypes in the public.

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