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