TheEffect Emotion has on the Perception of RaceCodyBartzSewanee:The University of the South Arecent shift of focus could be aiding in negative racial biases through media’suse of persuasion. Recent research suggests that news media focuses a majorityof their time on racial discriminatory acts in society in both a negative andneutral light (Schemer, 2012); thus society receives a majority of newsinvolving race. Due to the fact that the internet is consistently used forreceiving news reports (Zúñiga, Jung, & Valenzuela, 2012), a lotof racial discrimination could be constantly streamed into the minds of everyindividual in society; whether it be direct (via.
News applications) orindirect (via. Facebook; Tynes & Markoe, 2010), individuals are biased topersonal beliefs (e.g. political affiliated individuals will focus on thingspertaining to their political party’s beliefs; Krueger, 1996). Though thepopulation could receive any recent news occurring in the world, researchsuggests that one of the media’s main focuses are minorities and discriminatoryacts involving these groups (Bleich, Stonebreaker, Nisar, & Abdelhamid,2015).
Therefore, it could be difficult to alter one’s own perception of racefrom that of popular media opinion. Research also supports that context plays arole in how race is perceived (Ito, Willadsen-Jensen, Kaye, & Park, 2011).This implies that due to the negative context in which minorities are focusedon in media, increased negative bias may affect the perception of race outsideof media observation. Certain biases aredefinitively seen in neural correlates whenever presented with stimuliinvolving race. For example, the N170 amplitude is often correlated with facialrecognition, though recent research indicates that alongside this, racialperception is noticed (Wiese, Kaufmann, & Scheinberger, 2012). Wiese andcolleagues (2012) found higher amplitudes in the N170 whenever presented withfaces of the same race, and a higher N250 amplitude whenever presented withdifferent races. This implies that own race is recognized quicker than opposingraces; however, those of a different race show higher perception uponrecognition. Further research supports this by showing higher P200 and N200amplitudes which correlate with attention and opposition detection respectively(Ito & Bartholow, 2009).
Therefore, alongside behavioral support, moredefinitive neural analysis demonstrates differentiation of racial perceptionamong the population. Biasescan often arise due to the affect correlated with them (e.g. negative biasesfrequently arise due to prior negative emotion; Segerstrom, 2001). Given the role that media plays, itmakes sense that emotional shifts can be due to the intake of information frommedia outlets.
In fact, social media is seen to promote certain attitudes aboutsubjects which further shift behaviors in situations involving these groups,which consistently reinforces biases through negative wording (Zúñiga, Jung,& Valenzuela, 2012). Specifically, the media aims to promote emotions thatseem elicit certain behaviors on particular groups of people (e.g. massshootings and race of the perpetrator). Schmid and Amodio (2016) conducted astudy on the manipulation of power and its effects on stereotyping and foundthat increases in power are directly correlated with increased stereotyping,suggesting that the media, due to its power, promotes an increase in racialstereotyping. Further research specifically found correlation with negativeemotional wording in news media used to persuade viewers in a certain direction(Dunlop, Wakefield, and Kashima, 2008), promoting media power over thepopulation. As previously mentioned, the media is a tool utilized by a majority of the population (Zúñiga, Jung,& Valenzuela, 2012), suggesting that the population provides power to mediagroups. In order to understand what is happening in the world, news outletsstream consistently, and depending on personal viewing preference, certainbiases of these outlets shift the opinions of the viewers.
Thus, media biasesarguably infect the biases of the population.Framingis a psychological tactic used to shift preference in a particular direction(Tversky & Kahneman, 1981), and recent research shows news media utilizingframing to alter viewer preference (Van Der Meer & Verhoeven, 2013). Racism occurs actively in society(Kawakami, Dunn, Karmali, & Dovidio, 2009) and news media frames minoritygroups (Bleich, Stonebreaker, Nisar, & Abdelhamid, 2015) negatively;therefore, it is probable the majority of society assimilates to these negativebiases of the media.
Kim’s (2011) study shows that people trust news coveragewithout much question, even though media uses persuasion to elicit negativeemotions alongside minority coverage (Dunlop, Wakefield, & Kashima, 2008).Further research suggests that media uses framing to elicit the responses theyintend (An & Gower, 2009). Framing is a technique in which words andphrases are specifically chosen to shift the opinion of the listener to that ofthe one using the framing (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981).
Though someresearch suggests that TV media plays an indirect role in emotional responsesto recent events (Namkoong, Fung, & Scheufele, 2012), other researchsuggests that news coming from social media (e.g. Facebook) can play a directrole in changing emotional responses to social situations (Zuniga, Jung, , 2012). For example, recent media framing of mass shootingsinvolving an African American perpetrator revolve around negative phrases and words;whereas those involving a Caucasian perpetrator are often framed with positiveevents in the criminal’s life. With so many different ways of getting mediainformation, information that is shown to direct coverage on minorities andelicit negative emotions, it may be seen that negative biases on race can beextorted whenever a negative emotion is felt regardless of context. Anabundance of evidence supports the claim that media uses persuasion to elicitnegative biases centered on minority groups (Bleich, Stonebreaker, Nisar, &Abdelhamid, 2015; Schemer, 2012; Dunlop, Wakefield, & Kashima, 2008).
Thepresent study aims to provide additional support this by inducing negative andpositive moods in participants and showing images including race, and analyzingthe N170 and N250 components of ERPs in the parietal and temporal lobesrespectively. The components are seen to be directly involved in racialprocessing (Senholzi & Ito, 2012; Wiese, Kaufmann, & Schweinberger,2012; Ito & Bartholow, 2009; Ito & Urland, 2005), and will give morespecific data on how race plays an effect whenever emotion is induced. As aresult of prior evidence supporting negative framing correlation with negativebiases, it is expected that those induced in a negative emotion will inherentlyrate non-racial images (i.e. images involving race but are not violent ordiscriminatory) as less appropriate than those induced with a positive mood.Alongside behavioral responses, it is expected that the component N250 willshow lower arousal in those induced into a negative mood, indicating thatnegative affect causes a blockage of racial processing thus forcingparticipants to rely on subjective biases to make judgement. It is alsoexpected that N170 amplitudes will be greater in every participant that viewstheir identified race.
MethodParticipants Our participants were 18 volunteers from Sewanee: theUniversity of the South. These participants were recruited from the AffectiveNeuroscience course where the experiment took place. The participants consistedof X males and X females between the ages of Xand X (mean age of X). The International Review Boardapproved the study and all participants provided informed consent beforebeginning the experimental task. Materials The materials in the present study consisted of ademographic questionnaire, the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS),the State-Trait Inventory for Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety (STICSA), theEmotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ), the Brief Edinburgh HandednessInventory, a Racism Questionnaire, and the NASA Task Load Index (NADA-TLX). Thestudy also consisted of a computerized experimental portion that was coded andanalyzed using E-Prime and images and emotionally primed words obtained andcreated by the researchers.
Questionnaires. Thedemographic questionnaire, PANAS, STICSA, ERQQ, and the Handedness Inventorywere administered before the experimental portion of the experiment. This wasto obtain baseline information about each participant’s emotional state andtheir ability to regulate emotions.
The demographic questionnaire consisted ofquestions asking each participant’s age, sex, gender, ethnic background, levelof education, socioeconomic status, residence location (e.g. suburb, ruralareas, etc.
), and their vision and if they wear contacts (this is due to theEEG experiment and possible noise due to eye dryness and movement). Design The independent variable in this study is the emotionalstimuli, this includes either a positive emotion or a negative emotion beforebeing shown images involving race. The dependent variable of this study is theparticipant’s reaction to the images involving race. ERP components N170 andN250 will be examined from the parietal and temporal lobes to assess howquickly each participant responds to the images in comparison to the responsesthey give to each image. ElectrophysiologicalRecording and Preprocessing ContinuousEEG recordings were made from Brain Products ActiCHamp system (Brain Vision,LLC, Morrisville, NC) consisting of 64-electrodes arranged in an actiCAPelastic cap and placed in accordance to the 10-20 System. The EEG signal wassampled at a rate of 500 Hz and referenced to Cz. Impedance levels were keptbelow 10k? at all sites.
Offline, preprocessing was conducted using MATLAB(version 2013b, The MathWorks, Inc., Natick, MA) along with the EEGLAB toolbox(Delorme & Makeig, 2004). To derive the N170 and N250 waveforms, EEG datawere filtered from .1 to 30 Hz and re-referenced to the common averagereference.
Single-trial EEG epochs were extracted for a period beginning 200msbefore stimulus onset and continuing for the entire duration of the racialimage presentation (1500 ms). Epochs were baseline-corrected using the 200 msprior to stimulus onset. Trials were discarded due to excessive physiologicalnoise if they contained: (i) an eye-blink, (ii) a voltage step greater than 50mV/ms between sample points, (iii) a max-min difference greater than 150 mV/msthroughout the epoch and (iv) low activity (i.e. less than 0.
5 mV/ms) within a100 ms window. Consistent with prior research, we quantified the N170 as theaverage signal amplitude at site Fp1 and Fp2 in the 130-200 ms and the N250 atsite T7 and T8 in the 235-335 time range after stimulus onset.Procedure Upon entering the lab, participants provided informedconsent were then fitted with an electrode cap for electroencephalographic(EEG) recordings. While the electrode cap was being set up, the participantcompleted the demographic questionnaire, PANAS, STICSA, ERQ, and the HandednessInventory.
After these were finished, the participant was lead into theacquisition room where the EEG cap was placed on the participant and theelectrodes were gelled and tested. Once the EEG cap was finished and workingproperly, the participant took a short practice experiment to fully understandwhat was expected of them before the trials and recording began. One the practice experiment was completed, theparticipant was able to ask any questions or concerns they may have. During theexperimental task, the participant was primed with either a positive (joy) ornegative (angry) word before being presented with a racial image including ablatantly racist scene or a scene that did not include racism and was taskedwith rating each image on a scale from 1 (not acceptable) to 5 (extremely acceptable).The participant was assured that their responses were completely confidentialand that responses were kept between the researchers only. Each block contained 100 trials consisting of50 blatantly racist images and 50 non-racism images preceded by 75positive/negative words and 25 positive/negative words depending on the block’semotion induction. The reason for the emotional stimuli being 75:25 is so theparticipant does not figure out what the hypothesis is during the experimentalportion of the task.
Upon completion of the experimental portion, theparticipant was administered a racism questionnaire, to assess their baselineracial opinions, and the NASA TLX, to assess how stressful they thought thetask to be. The reasoning for the NASA TLX is to test whether or not cognitiveload depletion may be a factor when perceiving the racial images. ExpectedResults Behavioral results expected will show a quicker reactiontime for those induced in a negative mood. To test this, a T-test would beperformed comparing each participant’s average response time for both positiveand negative conditions. To compare perception of racism and mood, anotherT-test will be performed analyzing each participant’s response to each imageagainst the mood induced in that block. It is expected that whenever inducedinto a negative mood, higher unacceptability will be recorded in the responses.
Overall, negative mood will show each image to be less acceptable; however,comparing positive and negative moods for the non-racial images, negative moodinduction will positively correlate with a lower acceptance rating. Based on previous research in the N170 and N250components in ERPs, it is expected that higher N170 amplitude will be recordedwhenever each participant examines an image involving their own race. In thesesame participants, a higher N250 will be recorded when images show an opposingrace. The N250 will also show higher amplitude in all instances involvinginduction into a negative mood for both racially explicit and non-racialimages. In recording the P300, lower amplitude will be seen when induced in anegative mood for both racially explicit and non-racial images. Although,whenever induced in a positive mood, the P300 will show higher amplitude inonly the racially explicit images.
ERP results will look similarly to the epochs in figureone. The non-racist images epoch shows a greater amplitude for N170 whenlooking at the negative emotion, suggesting that negative affect increasesresponse to faces more readily than those in positive moods. This epoch alsoshows a greater N250 amplitude for those induced into a positive mood,suggesting that negative affect does not recognize race as much as positiveaffect. As hypothesized, there should be no significant difference in N170amplitude for racially-explicit images between moods, though negative emotionshould have lower amplitude for the N250; this is shown under the racist imagesepoch.
The remaining two epochs show definitive differences between affect andperception of race, controlling for the overarching assumption that moodaffects racial perception. AnticipatedImplications Given that the expected results hold true, definitiveimplications can be made from both the behavioral and EEG data about how moodaffects the perception of social issues. Induction into a negative mood willcause a quicker response to acceptability for both non-racial and raciallyexplicit images. This would indicate that whenever negative affect isinherently present, focus on surroundings lessens; thus, one would rely onunspoken biases in reaction rather than acting reasonably. These biases maystem from media intake and not be core opinions that people hold.
This suggeststhat negative affect takes up higher amounts of cognitive load and thereforecauses unacceptable societal actions. With the indicated results, lower amplitudes in the N250in negative mood induced individuals further supports that negative affectcauses an increased cognitive load and enforces reaction from subconsciousbiases. This suggests that, because of the biases media produces, violentbehavior may arise, not due to negative intention, but due to the inability toregulate actions because of lower cognitive abilities during emotionally taxingsituations. Though this in no way justifies negative behavior towardsminorities, it does give further explanation as to why many individuals actirrationally in certain situations when they may not usually react in such away. Limitations Any limitations for conducting this study would becentered on the population used.
For example, college students may show lessunconscious bias than older generations, or college students could show greaterbias due to their amount of media intake. It will also be difficult to concludethat unconscious biases are solely due to lower cognitive abilities tosufficiently regulate actions against minorities. There are numerous factors totake into consideration whenever attempting to pinpoint reasonings fordiscriminatory behaviors. Though, any research in this area is beneficial forlessening irrational biases learned from media. Discussion These findings support Windmann and Kr?gert’s (1998)study suggesting unconscious information processing leading tomisinterpretations. Since the presenting study suggests that those induced intoa negative misconstrue non-racial images as more unacceptable, it can behypothesized that subconscious biases play a role in reactions to certainsituations.
This data also slightly supports the unconscious bias theory. Thistheory was originally used to further understand discrimination in theworkplace (Lee, 2005); however is touches on the idea that discrimination doesnot, necessarily, stem from core beliefs, but rather from past stereotypeslearned either from previous generations or simply from the learning ofhistory. Though there are numerous theories behind discrimination, it is stillunknown directly from which they stem. Thus, more research is needed to fullyidentify and define this theory of unconscious biases that way preventionscould be taken to eliminate unhealthy and irrational biases that cause violentbehavior in society. ReferencesBleich, E., Stonebraker, H., Nisar, H.
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