Does cognitive depletion shape bias detection for minority group members?

Evelyn R. Carter*, Destiny Peery, Jennifer A. Richeson, Mary C. Murphy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Previous research has explored how context, characteristics of the target, or a perceiver's cognitive state may affect person perception and impression formation. The present work extends theory on person perception and illuminates factors that determine when Blacks perceive a White target as prejudiced. Building from research suggesting that modern racism may require more cognitive resources to discern than old-fashioned racism, participants were first cognitively depleted (or not). Next, they were asked to watch a video in which a White target displayed cues consistent with modern or old-fashioned racism toward a Black partner during an interracial interaction. Consistent with hypotheses, non-depleted Black participants perceived both the modern and old-fashioned racist as equally prejudiced. However, depletion moderated Black participants' bias detection such that they perceived the modern racist as less prejudiced than did the non-depleted Black participants. Depleted and non-depleted Black participants perceived the less ambiguous old-fashioned racist as prejudiced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-254
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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