August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
The impact of stress on the visual representation of an ethnic ingroup and outgroup
Author Affiliations
  • Andréa Deschênes
    Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Daniel Fiset
    Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Helene Forget
    Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Frederika Von Partenza Belec
    Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Valiquette Joelle
    Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Blais Caroline
    Université du Québec en Outaouais
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 1394. doi:
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      Andréa Deschênes, Daniel Fiset, Helene Forget, Frederika Von Partenza Belec, Valiquette Joelle, Blais Caroline; The impact of stress on the visual representation of an ethnic ingroup and outgroup. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1394.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Social stress potentiates prosocial behavior (von Dawans et al., 2012) by increasing trust, trustworthiness, and sharing behavior during social interactions. Still unknown is whether this increase in prosocial behavior is also directed towards another ethnic group. We verified if a social stress altered the visual representation of an ethnic ingroup and outgroup, and if such changes were related to racial prejudices. Participants were divided into two groups and submitted to the Trier Social Stress Test for Groups (N=20) or a control condition (N=21). Participants then completed a Reverse Correlation task (Mangini & Biederman, 2004). On each trial, two stimuli were presented, composed of the same base face on which two inversely correlated patches of noise were added. The participants had to decide which face looked most prototypical of a Caucasian or an African-American. All participants also completed an Implicit Association Test (Greenwald et al., 1998) to measure their level of ethnic bias. Individual classification images (CIs) were calculated by summing the noise added on the faces chosen as most representative of each ethnic group. Group CIs were then produced by summing the CIs of the eight participants with the highest (vs. eight with the lowest) level of prejudices, in each stress condition. In a second phase, 50 independent judges were asked to decide which of two CIs of the same ethnicity, coming from the same prejudice group but from different stress conditions, seemed the most trustworthy. For highly prejudiced individuals, stress made the visual representation of a Caucasian appear more trustworthy (p=0.007) whereas it was the opposite for African-American (p=0.007). This pattern of result was reversed in participants with low racial prejudices, suggesting that other mechanisms may be at play (p=0.007 and p=0.0003 for Caucasian and African-Americans, respectively).

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


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