Whites demonstrate anti-Black associations but do not reinforce them

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Description: White people often associate Black people with negative information and outcomes. At the same time, many White people value not being or appearing prejudiced. In an inter-race context, these two forces may conflict. Whites may be better able to acquire anti-Black associations that align with their existing explicit or implicit attitudes, but may be unmotivated to strengthen these associations because they oppose their egalitarian values. Across five studies (N > 1,100) including two pre-registered designs, Whites given a learning task were better able to initially acquire anti-Black racial associations but were unable or unwilling to then reinforce these associations. Conversely, Whites were less able to initially acquire pro-Black racial associations but then acquired and strengthened these associations. Finally, Whites were still unwilling or unable to reinforce anti-Black associations even when given a non-racial justification to do so. These results highlight the distinct but related influences of attitudes and prejudice concerns on race-related behavior.

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White people often associate Black people with negative information and outcomes. At the same time, many White people value not being or appearing prejudiced. In an inter-race context, these two forces may conflict. Whites may be better able to acquire anti-Black associations that align with their existing explicit or implicit attitudes, but may be unmotivated to strengthen these associations beca...

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