You deplete me: The cognitive costs of colorblindness on ethnic minorities

Deborah Son Holoien, J. Nicole Shelton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


This study examined how priming Whites with colorblind or multicultural approaches to diversity prior to an interracial interaction affects ethnic minorities' cognitive functioning. Although ethnic minorities did not explicitly know which prime their White partner received, ethnic minorities paired with Whites primed with colorblindness (vs. multiculturalism) showed poorer cognitive performance on the Stroop (1935) color-naming task following the interaction. Furthermore, Whites in interracial interactions primed with colorblindness exhibited more behavioral prejudice, which mediated ethnic minorities' decreased cognitive performance. These findings suggest that Whites' exposure to certain ideologies may affect the cognitive performance of the ethnic minorities they encounter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-565
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Cognitive depletion
  • Colorblindness
  • Interracial interaction
  • Multiculturalism


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