When Prejudice Does not Pay: Effects of Interracial Contact on Executive Function

Jennifer A. Richeson, J. Nicole Shelton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

476 Scopus citations


This study examined the influence of interracial interaction on the cognitive functioning of members of a dominant racial group. White participants had a brief interaction with either a White or a Black confederate, and then completed an ostensibly unrelated Stroop colornaming test. Prior to the interaction, participants ' racial attitudes regarding Whites and Blacks were measured via the Implicit Association Test. Racial attitudes were predictive of impairment on the Stroop test for individuals who participated in interracial interactions, but not for those who participated in same-race interactions. The results are consistent with recently proposed resource models of self-regulation and executive control in that interracial interaction, a particularly taxing exercise of self-regulation for highly prejudiced individuals, negatively affected performance on a subsequent, yet unrelated, test of executive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-290
Number of pages4
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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