Verbal instruction abolishes fear conditioned to racial out-group faces

Mallan, Kimberley M., Sax, James, & Lipp, Ottmar V. (2009) Verbal instruction abolishes fear conditioned to racial out-group faces. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(6), pp. 1303-1307.

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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.

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17 citations in Scopus
15 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 48670
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: race, fear learning, psychophysiology, skin conductance, eyeblink startle
DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.08.001
ISSN: 00221031
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology Psychopharmacology Physiological Psychology) (170101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Elsevier.
Deposited On: 16 Feb 2012 05:24
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2017 00:02

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