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Implicit Bias in Bethel College Students: A Behavioral and Event-Related Brain Potential Approach

Faculty Supervisor:
Dwight Krehbiel
Year of Project Completion:
Kacy Canady


Social neuroscience draws from various fields such as social psychology, biology, and neuropsychology in order to explain how these systems are involved in social processing such as biased attitudes. In this particular ERP study, I explore the possibilities of biased behaviors among athletes and non athletes on the Bethel College campus. I looked at the area in which it is believed stereotyped thinking takes place, the anterior cingulate cortex, which corresponds with electrodes Fp1, Fp2, Cp1, Cp2, Fz, Cz, and Pz. I hypothesized that both athletes and non athletes will have faster reaction times to their own in-group as well as yield stronger ERP components for N100s, N200s, P200s and P300s when presented with target stimuli that differ from the context. I also hypothesized that explicit or direct and conscious biases would be subtle to non existent as compared to any implicit biases found. In accordance to my hypothesis, I found distinct differences between the athlete group and non athlete group in their ERP responses; but unfortunately, due to unforeseen events, reactions times were unable to be calculated. However, I was able to calculate explicit responses referring to favoritism of one’s in-group and found that overall, athletes tend to favor their in-group more so than non athletes.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.