SAGE Journal Articles

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Ito, T.A., Thompson, E., & Cacioppo, J.T. (2004). Tracking the timecourse of social perception: The effects of racial cues on event-related brain potentials. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 1267-1280.  DOI: 10.1177/0146167204264335

Summary: This study tracked social perception processes associated with viewing faces of people from a racial ingroup and outgroup, specifically examining three types of stimuli: neutral, ingroup, and ingroup- outgroup differentiation.  With regard to the different stimuli, researchers tracked prejudice, social perception, and stereotyping. 

Questions to consider:

  1. Why might it be important to examine racial perceptions using implicit measures? Describe how the methodology in the two experiments differ. 
  2. What is ERP? How is ERP measured?
  3. The authors point out that race was not a statistically significant factor. What might be some potential problems with the measure?


Vanman, E.J., Saltz, J.L., Nathan, L.R., & Warren, J.A. (2004). Racial discrimination by low-prejudiced Whites: Facial movements as implicit measures of attitudes related to behavior. Psychological Science, 15, 711-714.  DOI: 10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00746.x

Summary: This article investigates implicit racial bias.  The participants were asked to respond to two measures of racial bias. The first measure was the Implicit Associations Test (IAT), which measures response time relating Black and White faces with positive and negative words. For the second measure, participants’ involuntary reactions to certain faces were recorded using facial electromyography (EMG).  Results revealed that the EMG, not the IAT, was a sufficient measure of racial bias.

Questions to consider:

  1. Why are the authors concerned with measuring implicit, rather than explicit, racial bias?
  2. Describe, in detail, the two different measures of implicit racial bias that were used in the study.
  3. Why did the authors choose to recruit participants from a university where White students were thought to hold positive attitudes toward Black students?