Poster A125, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Genetic Contributions to Implicit Racial Bias: Does Race Matter?
Brianna Pankey1, Bethany C. Reeb-Sutherland1, Melanie Stollstorff1; 1Florida International University
Implicit racial bias (IRB) is the processing of racial stereotypes or attitudes at unconscious levels of awareness. Previous research suggests that individual differences in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR), a gene involved in fear processing and emotional reactivity, are associated with IRB. Specifically, individuals with an S-allele (SS/SL), related to less efficient reuptake of serotonin, displayed higher IRB levels compared to those homozygous for the L-allele (LL). Given that measures of IRB are affected by an individual’s race/ethnicity, it is surprising no study to date has explored the moderating role of participant race/ethnicity on the relation between 5-HTTLPR and IRB. The current study examined whether race/ethnicity moderates the association between 5-HTTLPR and IRB in a diverse sample of 381 adult participants (49 African American, 80 White, and 252 Hispanic/Latino). Participants’ IRB was measured via the racial implicit association test (IAT) and 5-HTTLPR genotype status (SS/SL vs. LL) was measured via saliva samples. A significant interaction effect between 5-HTTLPR status and race/ethnicity was found. The SS/SL group displayed significantly greater IAT scores than the LL group in both Black and Hispanic/Latino participants. No significant difference in IAT scores were found among Whites. Results for the current study suggest that genetic risk and associated underlying neural mechanisms (i.e., amygdala) plays a significant role in implicit racial biases and that these effects are significantly impacted by an individual’s own race/ethnicity. The results from this study identifies a potential explanation for implicit race biases through intersectionality across multiple systems and dimensions in the individual.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions