Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Cheryl L Dickter

Committee Member

Catherine Forestell

Committee Member

Joanna Schug

Committee Member

Meghan Sinton


Racial minorities are increasingly growing in the United States and the racial category “multiracial” is one of the fastest growing racial minorities. Racial essentialism is the belief that race has an underlying property and is innate and biological. Many people with essentialist beliefs do not normally categorize individuals with a multiracial background as multiracial. The current study assessed how an essentialism manipulation affects the neural processing of minority race targets by White participants. Participants completed a categorization task and passive task looking at ambiguous and monoracial faces while connect to EEG. For the passive task, results revealed gradient by race by condition interactions for the N170, P2, and N4 components as well as race by gradient interactions for the P1, N2, P3, N3, and LPP components. Additionally, the category chosen for the target affected neural processing in the N3 component for the categorization condition. These findings demonstrate the need for continued research of the perception of multiracial individuals and continued attempts to reduce attentional bias.



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