Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (1.19 MB)

The Effects of Reward on a Racially-Biased Decision to Shoot

Download (1.19 MB)
posted on 2021-11-11, 22:02 authored by Stolpe, Alice V.

People use shortcuts in cognitive processing by making associations that automatically link constructs together. Associations of a stereotypic nature may become accessible, generating responses which bias the perceiver towards one decision over another. Previous research has shown that people are quicker and more accurate to shoot armed targets that are black than targets that are white (Correll, Park, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2002). However, previous research has also biased participants toward a more lenient shooting criterion. The current study proposes that when given motivation to not shoot, the stereotypically-dependent bias to shoot will decrease. That is, altering costs and rewards of decisions should influence participants’ responses towards responding quickly and accurately, regardless of target ethnicity. Results showed that the reward manipulation was unsuccessful in decreasing Shooter Bias. The manipulation was able to sway participants towards more conservative non-shooting decisions overall but participants remained more accurate and quicker in responses to shoot armed black targets compared to armed white targets.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


Crawford, Matthew