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WSU 'deadly force' lab finds racial disparities in shootings
Date:9/1/2014

blacks and threats," which is consistent with previous psychological research on racial stereotypes.

However, the current study only measured the alpha waves of participants drawn from the general public, not law enforcement or the military. Consequently, wrote the authors, "results from this sample are not generalizable to sworn officers."

"However," they added, "there is some evidence from the field to support the proposition that an officer's threat bias could cause him or her to tend to take more time to make decisions to shoot people whom they subconsciously perceived as more threatening because of race or ethnicity. This behavioral 'counter-bias' might be rooted in people's concerns about the social and legal consequences of shooting a member of a historically oppressed racial or ethnic group."

James said she has data on subconscious associations between race and threat from law enforcement subjects, and she awaits funding to analyze whether these biases predict decisions to shoot in the simulator. Like study participants from the general public, she said, "they were still more hesitant to shoot black suspects than white suspects. They took longer and they made fewer errors."


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Contact: Lois James
lois_james@wsu.edu
509-358-7944
Washington State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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WSU 'deadly force' lab finds racial disparities in shootings
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