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Journal Article

Citation

Pickel KL, Sneyd DE. Memory 2018; 26(1): 29-41.

Affiliation

Department of Psychology , Florida International University , Miami , FL , USA.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2018, Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)

DOI

10.1080/09658211.2017.1317814

PMID

28436249

Abstract

We compared the influence of a weapon's presence on eyewitnesses' memory for a White versus a Black male perpetrator. Prior data indicate that unusual objects in visual scenes attract attention and that a weapon's effect depends on how unusual it seems within the context in which it appears. Therefore, given the stereotype linking Black men and weapons, we predicted a weaker weapon focus effect with the Black perpetrator. The results of Experiment 1 supported this hypothesis using White and Black witnesses. Moreover, in Experiment 2 the weapon focus effect became nonsignificant when the Black perpetrator wore a style of clothing that is strongly associated with Black men. We propose that observing an armed Black perpetrator automatically activates a stereotype linking Black men with weapons and crime, which in turn reduces the perceived unusualness of the weapon and thus its ability to attract attention.


Language: en

Keywords

Witnesses; attention; racial and ethnic attitudes; stereotyped attitudes; weapon focus effect

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