Challenging Observed Prejudice: Testing the Roles of Goal Intentions and Implementation Intentions Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Jenkins, Keenan
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Confronting prejudice is an effective way to reduce further prejudice, especially when that confrontation comes from an observer. Past research has shown that observers of prejudice often fail to confront, and numerous studies examine the reasons why people fail to confront. However, there is little research on how to increase rates of observer confrontation. Research on self-regulation suggests that implementation intentions – if-then plans to automatize behavior in response to situational cues – are an effective way to bridge the gap between intentions and behaviors; this should also hold true when it comes to bridging the gap between intending to and actually confronting prejudice. One hundred thirty-eight White participants completed an online survey in which they received an implementation intention, a goal intention, or no intention to confront prejudice. In a behavioral follow-up, participants were given the opportunity to verbally confront a White confederate whom they heard make a racially prejudiced remark about a Black confederate. Subsequently, participants were asked to choose one of the confederates for a partner task. Results from hierarchical logistic regressions showed that goal intentions, rather than implementation intentions, led to an increase in rates of verbal confrontation. However, neither goal intentions nor implementations affected partner choice. Across all conditions, over 75% of participants selected the Black confederate as a partner, suggesting a ceiling effect. The results suggest that in the domain of confronting prejudice, goal intentions suffice, whereas implementation intentions may induce deliberation at the critical moment.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Payne, B. Keith
  • Neblett, Enrique
  • Lindquist, Kristen
  • Algoe, Sara
  • Sheeran, Paschal
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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