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Implicit Bias Predicts Liking of Ingroup Members Who Are Comfortable With Intergroup Interaction


We test a novel framework for how ingroup members are perceived during intergroup interaction. Across three experiments, we found that, above and beyond egalitarian attitudes and motivations, White observers' automatic responses to Blacks (i.e., their implicit anti-Black bias) shaped their affiliation toward ingroup targets who appeared comfortable engaging in interracial versus same-race interaction. White observers' implicit anti-Black bias negatively correlated with liking of White targets who were comfortable with Blacks (Experiments 1-3). The relationship between implicit bias and liking varied as a function of targets' nonverbal comfort in interracial interactions (Experiment 1). Specifically, implicit bias negatively correlated with liking of targets when targets' nonverbal behaviors revealed observers felt comfortable with interracial contact, irrespective of the nature of those behaviors (Experiment 2). Finally, the relationship between implicit bias and target liking was mediated by perceived similarity (Experiment 3). Theoretical implications for stigma-by-association, social network homogeneity, and extended contact are discussed.

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