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The protective effect of mindfulness after meaning threat: controlling implicit racial biases


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Cocker, CM 2016 , 'The protective effect of mindfulness after meaning threat: controlling implicit racial biases', Honours thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Racial prejudice against Indigenous Australians contributes to their substantial marginalisation and discrimination. Implicit associations of Indigenous persons with negative connotations can unconsciously activate thoughts and behaviours that reinforce negative racial attitudes. Mindfulness research suggests focused attention on present awareness can enhance attentional control, consequently reducing automatic racial bias. Conversely, meaning threats violate normal expectancies, induce uncertainty and enhance association bias. The current study investigated whether mindfulness training protects against elevated implicit racial bias after an uncertainty threat. 112 Caucasian adults (M = 29.17, SD = 12.48) were allocated into one of four conditions: double active (n = 26), mindfulness active (n = 25), meaning threat active (n = 30), or double control (n = 31). A mindfulness exercise was followed by a meaning threat story with implicit racial bias measured through a newly constructed Indigenous Australian Race Implicit Association Test. No significant interaction of racial bias was revealed across conditions `(p = .858, ηp^2= 0.00)`. The hypothesis that mindfulness training would reduce racial bias after meaning threat was not supported. 10-minutes of non-mindful attention may result in dissipated mindfulness effects due to a transient mindful state being induced for novice meditators.

Item Type: Thesis - Honours
Authors/Creators:Cocker, CM
Keywords: mindfulness, uncertainty, automaticity, racism, attention
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Copyright 2016 the author

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