Psychophysiological Responses to Racial Passing Behavior

How are psychophysiological responses to racial passing behavior shaped by the direction of passing (i.e., within the racial hierarchy)?

Project Abstract

(Photograph from Getty Images)

Our Summer 2017 research team designed, proposed, and conducted a psychophysiological study of responses to racial passing behavior. We measured LC student participants’ cognitive depletion scores using the Stroop Task, among other qualitative and quantitative measures, in order to assess conscious and subconscious responses to a multiracial person passing as either black or white. Stroop Effect Scores showed a trend toward greater cognitive depletion in the black-passing condition vs. the white passing condition. This trend matches previous research done by this lab and others, which shows that passing as a means to move upward in the racial hierarchy is viewed more positively (i.e., less immoral) than the opposite direction.

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