Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
The current research examined the viability of the N400, an event-related potential (ERP) related to the detection of semantic incongruity, as an index of both stereotype accessibility and interracial prejudice. Participants’ EEG was recorded while they completed a sequential priming task, in which negative or positive, stereotypically black (African American) or white (Caucasian American) traits followed the presentation of either a black or white face acting as a prime. ERP examination focused on the N400, but additionally examined N100 and P200 reactivity. Replicating and extending previous N400 stereotype research, results indicated that the N400 can indeed function as an index of stereotype accessibility in an interracial domain, as greater N400 reactivity was elicited by trials in which the face prime was incongruent with the target trait than when primes and traits matched. Furthermore, N400 activity was moderated by participants’ self-reported explicit bias. More explicitly biased participants demonstrated greater N400 reactivity to stereotypically white traits following black faces than black traits following black faces. P200 activity was additionally associated with participants’ implicit biases, as more implicitly biased participants similarly demonstrated greater P200 reactivity to stereotypically white traits following black faces than black traits following black faces.
Hehman, Eric; Volpert, Hannah I.; and Simons, Robert F., "The N400 as an Index of Racial Stereotype Accessibility" (2014). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Scholarship. 3801.