Emotion reassociation as a prejudice reduction mechanism
Drawing from Intergroup Emotions Theory and clinical models of emotion regulation, two studies examined whether the restructuring of associations between outgroups and emotion concepts would have implications for future associations, explicit measures of prejudice, and nonverbal prejudiced responding. In Study 1, associations between Asian and African Americans and emotion words were restructured for White participants. Shifts in implicit associations occurred and remained up to six hours after the reassociation task. No shifts in explicit prejudice were observed. Study 2 demonstrated that emotion reassociation affects nonverbal prejudiced responding for White participants during an interaction with an African American. In addition, the African American interaction partners noticed changes in the behaviors of those whose emotion associations had been restructured. The current research demonstrated that (a) associations between outgroups and emotion concepts can be assessed, (b) these associations can be restructured, and (c) the restructured associations have behavioral implications. Future directions and real world applications are also discussed.