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Threat-Related Attentional Avoidance of Black Male Faces with Dark Versus Light Skin Tone
People selectively attend to stimuli perceived as
threatening (e.g. snakes, spiders, angry faces). As
such, because Black men are stereotyped as dangerous
and threatening, previous research has demonstrated
that Black male faces (vs. White male faces) capture
early attention, but also provoke attentional
avoidance when presented for longer durations. There
may, however, exist substantial within-race
variation in perceived threat, as dark-skinned Black
men are generally associated with more
stereotypically negative characteristics than
light-skinned Black men.
The figure above shows the skin tone attentional bias effect. Participants were slower to
identify a probe letters appearing in the spatial
location previously occupied by dark-skinned faces
compared to those occupied by light-skinned faces.
This suggests selective attentional avoidance of
more phenotypical Black male faces.
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