Sunday, September 6, 2015

Intoxicated Prejudice: The Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Implicitly & Explicitly Measured Racial Attitudes

Below:  Scatter plot of participants' IAT D-scores and explicit attitudes with separate fit lines for each beverage group; higher scores indicate greater negativity towards African Americans

Recent research has shown that alcohol consumption can exacerbate expressions of racial bias by increasing reliance on stereotypes. However, little work has investigated how alcohol affects intergroup evaluations. The current work sought to address the issue in the context of the correspondence between implicit and explicit measures of anti-black attitudes. Participants were randomly assigned to consume an alcoholic (target BAC of 0.08%), placebo, or control beverage prior to completing implicit and explicit measures of racial attitudes. Although beverage condition did not affect prejudice levels on either measure, it did change the correlation between them. Implicitly measured attitudes significantly predicted explicit reports of prejudice and discrimination only for participants who consumed alcohol. We discuss the implications of our findings for debates regarding dissociations between implicit and explicit measures and the cultural phenomenon of intoxicated individuals attributing prejudiced statements to alcohol consumption rather than personal attitudes.

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