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Eli Fennell, Melissa Mildort, Elizabeth Soethe, Arushi Sachdeva, Gizelle Anzures; ERP responses to race and implicit bias in children and adults. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):258. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.258.
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Prior research has demonstrated own-race recognition and implicit racial biases in adults and children (Baron & Banaji, 2006; Lee, Anzures, Quinn, Pascalis, & Slater, 2011). Some studies have found differences in event-related potentials (ERPs), whereas other studies have found similar ERPs, to own- and other-race faces in adults (Wiese, 2013). Event-related potentials to face race and their relation to implicit biases in children have yet to be investigated. We therefore examined ERPs to own- and other-race faces in a simple viewing task, and their relation to implicit racial biases in children and adults. Caucasian young adults and 5- to 10-year-olds viewed Caucasian and East Asian faces, and houses while their electroencephalographic waveforms were recorded. To ensure participants were attentive, they were instructed to press a button whenever they viewed infrequently-occurring images on a gray rather than a white background. Trials requiring button presses were excluded from analyses. Prior to the EEG task, participants completed a computerized child-friendly implicit association task measuring racial biases. Preliminary results indicated larger P100 and N170 and delayed P100 responses in children compared to adults (p values < .001). Neither children nor adults showed modulation of the N170 in response to race, but adults showed larger P100 responses to other- compared to own-race faces (p < .02). There were also trends towards greater implicit own-race biases associated with longer N170 latencies to other- compared to own-race faces in the left hemisphere in adults (p = .05), and larger N170 responses to own- compared to other-race faces in the right hemisphere in children and adults (p =.08). Overall, preliminary results suggest that race is more salient to adults than children in a task that did not require explicit attention to race. However, trends suggest that implicit racial biases are associated with ERPs in children and adults.
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