Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Cheryl L. Dickter

Committee Members

Glenn Shean

Christopher Freiman


Studies have shown that contextual factors can influence the person perception process and social categorization process (MacLin & Malpass, 2001; Ito et al., 2011; Newton, Dickter, & Gyurovski, 2011; Bartholow & Dickter, 2008). Contextual factors such as emotional affect and the race of surrounding individuals influence the way in which monoracial and racially ambiguous faces are perceived, which can subsequently affect judgments and behaviors (Bartholow & Dickter, 2008; Hugenberg & Bodenhausen, 2004). Much research has focused on the role of contextual factors in the perception of monoracial individuals (e.g. Bartholow & Dickter, 2008); however, research is lacking on the categorization of racially ambiguous individuals and how perceivers may use available contextual information to help reduce ambiguity and facilitate categorization. To examine the role of contextual factors in the perception and categorization of monoracial and racially ambiguous individuals, two studies were conducted in which White college students completed a modified flanker paradigm with Black, White, and racially ambiguous target faces displaying either a neutral, happy, or angry facial expression surrounded by flanker faces that displayed either congruent or incongruent race and affect. Results from Study 1 and Study 2 indicated that participants demonstrated an attentional bias to both Black faces and angry faces, regardless of compatibility with the target face. These findings suggest that because Black faces and angry faces both represent threatening or unfamiliar stimuli they may capture White perceivers' attention.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only