Resource depletion theories posit that cognitive resources exist in a limited pool. Thus, stressful stimuli can produce impairment on subsequent cognitive tasks, as limited resources (e.g., attentional or regulatory processes) are directed toward managing this initial stressor or task. Using experimental methodology, the study applied resource depletion theories to examine the effects of recognizing the existence of racism in American society in a White American undergraduate sample. The investigation examined impairments in cognitive functioning (i.e., executive functioning in Study 1 and creative mental processes in Study 2) and psychological functioning that were presumed to occur because racism acts as a stressor with the potential to arouse strong emotional responses and deplete resources. Study results suggested recognition of racism had some effects on cognitive and psychological functioning, but the results were limited and inconsistent. Of primary interest, recognizing racism only had a marginal effect on creativity in the form of ideational fluency, whereas recognizing discrimination resulted in fewer errors on a computerized Stroop task in one experimental procedure, thus contradicting predictions and a resource depletion perspective.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. Major: Psychology. August 2012. Advisor: Dr. Richard Lee. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 144 pages, appendices A-J.
Tran, Giac-Thao (Alisia) Thanh.
"What's the big deal?": recognition of racism and impairment of cognitive functioning..
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