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  Embodied social spaces: Implicit racial bias modulates spatial perspective taking

Lohmann, J., Kurz, J., Meilinger, T., & Butz, M. (2016). Embodied social spaces: Implicit racial bias modulates spatial perspective taking. In 58th Conference of Experimental Psychologists (TeaP 2016) (pp. 195-196).

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-7CFE-8 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-EC3D-3
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Lohmann, J, Author
Kurz, J, Author
Meilinger, T1, 2, 3, Author              
Butz, MV, Author
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1Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497797              
2Project group: Social & Spatial Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_2528706              
3Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497794              

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 Abstract: According to theories of embodied cognition, cognitive functions are rooted in the interactions between an agent and its environment. Besides the sensorimotor component, these interactions comprise social aspects. Hence, we hypothesized that interpersonal attitudes should affect cognitive processes to some degree, even if the task itself is not social. To investigate this hypothesis, we conducted a spatial perspective taking (SPT) experiment in an immersive virtual reality. Participants had to localize an object from the perspective of a light-, a dark-skinned, or an artificial avatar. In addition, we measured the racial bias of the participants with a racial Implicit Association Test (IAT) before (pre-IAT) and after (post-IAT) the experiment. Higher pre-IAT scores yielded slower RTs for the dark-skinned avatar, compared to the light-skinned one. A subgroup analysis, based on a median-split between participants with high and low pre-IAT, showed that this effect was only present in the high pre-IAT group. Furthermore, the correlation between pre-IAT and the differences in RTs for the dark- and light-skinned avatars was significant. There was no correlation between post-IAT scores and RT differences. Apparently, the IAT scores changed over the course of the experiment, even if the mean of the IAT scores remained the same. Participants with high pre-IAT scores produced low post-IAT scores, for participants with low pre-IAT scores the opposite was true. This negative correlation between pre-IAT scores and changes in the IAT scores was significant. Further experiments are necessary to clarify if this reflects an overall regression towards the mean, or if the SPT task selectively changes the IAT scores. The results show that performance in a purely spatial task (SPT) is modulated by interpersonal attitudes and that performing the task affects these attitudes. Implications of the results for theories of embodied and social cognition are discussed.

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 Dates: 2016-03
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Identifiers: BibTex Citekey: LohmannKMB2016
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Title: 58th Conference of Experimental Psychologists (TeaP 2016)
Place of Event: Heidelberg, Germany
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Title: 58th Conference of Experimental Psychologists (TeaP 2016)
Source Genre: Proceedings
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 195 - 196 Identifier: -