Age, Race, and Implicit Prejudice: Using Process Dissociation to Separate the Underlying Components

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Psychological Science


PREJUDICES, ATTITUDE (Psychology), SOCIAL perception, INFLUENCE of age on ability


Older adults express greater prejudice than younger adults, but it is not clear why. In a community-based sample, we found that older White adults demonstrated more racial prejudice on an implicit measure, the race Implicit Association Test, than did younger adults. Process-dissociation procedures indicated that this difference in implicit prejudice was due to older adults having less control of their automatic prejudicial associations rather than stronger automatic prejudicial associations. Furthermore, this age difference in control was mediated by age-related deficits in inhibitory ability. White participants showed stronger automatic prejudicial associations than did Black participants.