Priming negative Black stereotypes can have profound effects on perceptions, cognitions and affective reactions towards novel Black category members, particularly when one’s motivation to not be prejudiced is derived from external factors (EMNP; Amodio, Devine, & Harmon-Jones, 2008). Little is known however about how motivational states interact with context to affect consequences of cognitive processes, such as memory for novel in-group and out-group faces. Stimuli that are either negatively-valenced or semantically-congruent with the context produce better subsequent memory, so people with a heightened susceptibility to negative Black stereotypes (high EMNP), may demonstrate better memory for novel Black faces when placed in a context that primes these stereotypes. To test this hypothesis, two studies presented White participants with subliminal and supraliminal images of White and Black faces while manipulating affective and stereotypic aspects of the context via exposure to violent misogynistic rap (VMR), nonviolent rap, or death metal. Study 1 revealed that individuals high in EMNP exhibited enhanced recognition memory for subliminally-presented Black faces on a surprise memory test only when they were exposed to VMR during encoding. An additional fMRI study, which used a similar paradigm, revealed activation in brain regions critical for memory processing (e.g., the hippocampus) unique to subliminally-presented Black faces in VMR. Hippocampus activity in turn was positively correlated with EMNP only. Together, these findings suggest that externally-derived motivations may differentially affect processing of outgroup-members, specifically when they are encountered in a context that makes negative stereotypes salient.
Date:Friday, May 11, 2012 - 2:30pm - 4:00pm