Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Prejudice Control and Interracial Relations: The Role of Motivation to Respond Without Prejudice

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A decade of research indicates that individual differences in motivation to respond without prejudice have important implications for the control of prejudice and interracial relations. In reviewing this work, we draw on W. Mischel and Y. Shoda’s (1995, 1999) Cognitive–Affective Processing System (CAPS) to demonstrate that people with varying sources of motivation to respond without prejudice respond indistinct ways to situational cues, resulting in differing situation–behavior profiles in interracial contexts. People whose motivation is self-deter-mined (i.e., the internally motivated) effectively control prejudice across situations and strive for positive interracial interactions. In contrast, people who respond without prejudice to avoid social sanction (i.e., the primarily externally motivated) consistently fail at regulating difficult to control prejudice and respond with anxiety and avoidance in interracial interactions. We further consider the nature of the cognitive–affective units of personality associated with motivation to respond without prejudice and their implications for the quality of interracial relations.