Why do interracial interactions impair executive function? a resource depletion account

Jennifer A. Richeson*, Sophie Trawalter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

272 Scopus citations


Three studies investigated the veracity of a resource depletion account of the impairment of inhibitory task performance after interracial contact. White individuals engaged in either an interracial or same-race interaction, then completed an ostensibly unrelated Stroop color-naming test. In each study, the selfregulatory demands of the interaction were either increased (Study 1) or decreased (Studies 2 and 3). Results revealed that increasing the self-regulatory demands of an interracial interaction led to greater Stroop interference compared with control, whereas reducing self-regulatory demands led to less Stroop interference. Manipulating self-regulatory demands did not affect Stroop performance after same-race interactions. Taken together, the present studies point to resource depletion as the likely mechanism underlying the impairment of cognitive functioning after interracial dyadic interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)934-947
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Executive control
  • Interracial contact
  • Prejudice concerns
  • Resource depletion
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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