The Invisible Man: Interpersonal Goals Moderate Inattentional Blindness to African Americans Jan 07, 2013 By Sophie TrawalterJazmin L. Brown-IannuzziKelly M. HoffmanB. Keith Payne The Invisible Man: Interpersonal Goals Moderate Inattentional Blindness to African Americans The Invisible Man: Interpersonal Goals Moderate Inattentional Blindness to African Americans by Sophie Trawalter, Jazmin L. Brown-Iannuzzi, Kelly M. Hoffman and B. Keith Payne ABSTRACT: Research on inattentional blindness demonstrates that when attending to 1 set of stimuli, people often fail to consciously perceive a task-irrelevant object. In this experiment, we tested for selective inattentional blindness to racial outgroup members. We reasoned that some racial groups would be perceived as more relevant than others, depending on the interpersonal goal that was active. White participants were primed with interpersonal goals that ranged from psychologically distant (searching for a coworker) to psychologically close (searching for a romantic partner). In the control condition, no goal was explicitly activated. Then, participants watched a video of 2 teams passing a ball and were asked to count the ball passes of one of the teams. In the middle of the video, a Caucasian or an African American man walked through the scene. Participants were then asked to report whether they had seen the interloper. Results revealed that as interpersonal goals became closer to the self, participants were less likely to see the African American man. This research demonstrates a new form of social exclusion based on early attention processes that may perpetuate racial bias. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General Areas of focus Social Psychology Sophie Trawalter I’m an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Psychology. I study phenomena related to social diversity. Specifically, I examine how people navigate intergroup contact and intergroup contexts. I am especially interested in how people develop competencies and learn to thrive in diverse spaces. Read full bio Jazmin L. Brown-Iannuzzi Kelly M. Hoffman B. Keith Payne Related Content Sophie Trawalter False beliefs are associated with racial bias in pain assessment and treatment recommendations only among White (not among non-White) medical students and residents Research What Lies Beneath? Minority Group Members’ Suspicion of Whites’ Egalitarian Motivation Predicts Responses to Whites’ Smiles Research Antiprejudice norms and attempts to conceal racial bias have made Whites’ positive treatment of racial minorities attributionally ambiguous. Although some minorities believe Whites’ positivity is genuine, others are suspicious of Whites’ motives and believe their kindness is primarily motivated by desires to avoid appearing prejudiced. Alum in Action: Kathryn Babineau News Batten alum Kathryn Babineau (MPP ’13) is a Ph.D. student in the University of Virginia's sociology department, where she studies globalization, labor rights, and public and private regulation. Previously, she worked as a human rights investigator for the Fair Food Standards Council and as a research coordinator at National Defense University. First Batten Hour of the Year Kicks Off with Roundtable Discussion with Dean Solomon News This week, Batten hosted the first Batten Hour of the year featuring brief remarks from Dean Ian H. Solomon followed by a roundtable conversation with the dean, students, and faculty, providing an opportunity for the Batten community to get to learn more about the new dean, both professionally and personally.