Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Jennifer Joy-Gaba

Second Advisor

Nao Hagiwara

Third Advisor

Brandi Summers


Previous research shows that social biases, such as pro-White racial bias, can influence a person's decisions and behaviors (Correll et al. 2007; Mekawi & Bresin, 2015). Studies also suggest that social biases may influence basic functions like visual perception (Cesario & Navarrete, 2014); however, few studies have examined the relationship between visual perceptions and threat (Cesario, Placks, Hagiwara, Navarrete, & Higgins, 2010; Todd, Thiem, & Neel, 2016). The current research aims to investigate whether implicit pro-White preference can influence basic functions like visual perception. A secondary aim of this study is to examine the role of threat in this relationship. To test, White male and female participants (N= 29) were asked to complete distance estimates to either a Black or White male experimenter. It was hypothesized that participants would judge the distance to the Black confederate as closer compared to those who estimate the distance to a White confederate. The results marginally supported the idea that participants’ distance judgements were influenced by the experimenter’s race, such that the Black experimenter was viewed as closer when compared to the White experimenter. However, results showed that implicit racial attitudes did not influence distance estimations, but explicit bias did. Fully powered follow-up studies will be conducted to further examine these hypotheses and investigate whether a type one error was present.


© Calvin Hall

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