Verbal instruction abolishes fear conditioned to racial out-group faces

Mallan, Kimberley M., Sax, James and Lipp, Ottmar V. (2009) Verbal instruction abolishes fear conditioned to racial out-group faces. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45 6: 1303-1307. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2009.08.001


Author Mallan, Kimberley M.
Sax, James
Lipp, Ottmar V.
Title Verbal instruction abolishes fear conditioned to racial out-group faces
Journal name Journal of Experimental Social Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-1031
Publication date 2009-11-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.08.001
Volume 45
Issue 6
Start page 1303
End page 1307
Total pages 5
Editor J Cooper
Place of publication United States
Publisher Academic Press
Language eng
Subject 170101 Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
C1
Abstract Previous research has shown resistance to extinction of fear conditioned to racial out-group faces, suggesting that these stimuli may be subject to prepared fear learning. The current study replicated and extended previous research by using a different racial out-group, and testing the prediction that prepared fear learning is unaffected by verbal instructions. Four groups of Caucasian participants were trained with male in-group (Caucasian) or out-group (Chinese) faces as conditional stimuli; one paired with an electro-tactile shock (CS+) and one presented alone (CS−). Before extinction, half the participants were instructed that no more shocks would be presented. Fear conditioning, indexed by larger electrodermal responses to, and blink startle modulation during the CS+, occurred during acquisition in all groups. Resistance to extinction of fear learning was found only in the racial out-group, no instruction condition. Fear conditioned to a racial out-group face was reduced following verbal instructions, contrary to predictions for the nature of prepared fear learning.
Formatted abstract
Previous research has shown resistance to extinction of fear conditioned to racial out-group faces, suggesting that these stimuli may be subject to prepared fear learning. The current study replicated and extended previous research by using a different racial out-group, and testing the prediction that prepared fear learning is unaffected by verbal instructions. Four groups of Caucasian participants were trained with male in-group (Caucasian) or out-group (Chinese) faces as conditional stimuli; one paired with an electro-tactile shock (CS+) and one presented alone (CS−). Before extinction, half the participants were instructed that no more shocks would be presented. Fear conditioning, indexed by larger electrodermal responses to, and blink startle modulation during the CS+, occurred during acquisition in all groups. Resistance to extinction of fear learning was found only in the racial out-group, no instruction condition. Fear conditioned to a racial out-group face was reduced following verbal instructions, contrary to predictions for the nature of prepared fear learning.
Keyword Racial prejudice
Fear learning
Verbal instructions
Extinction
Startle eyeblink
ELECTRODERMAL RESPONSES
PREPAREDNESS
STIMULI
EXTINCTION
PHOBIAS
RELEVANT
NEWS
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Additional Notes Article available online on 9th August, 2009. However, not published in print until November, 2009.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 15 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 20 Dec 2009, 10:02:16 EST