Next Direction for the RaceProject
Our most recent paper, presented at the 2011 meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, provides a glimpse into our next major research project. Download the paper here.
Psychophysiological Approaches to Studying the Effects of Race-Based Messages in Political Campaigns
Scholars have long recognized that racism is rooted in systemic factors that manifest in attitudinal and behavioral elements that are largely unrelated to intent or conscious recognition of prejudice or bias. Empirical researchers have worked hard to adequately tap into latent racist predispositions by devising sophisticated questionnaires and interview methods that are effective in avoiding social filters and conscious-level self-deception that is inherent in self-response survey data. Advances in technology designed to measure psychophysiological factors – functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, electromyography, galvanic skin response, heart rate variability, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, post-auricular response, startle eyeblink modulation, etc. – hold promise in moving forward the state of knowledge in this field broadly, and in the area of potential effects of race-based political messages in particular. In this paper, we advance a theoretical justification for employing such techniques to capture “preconscious” responses to race-based campaign communication.
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