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Racial bias on moral judgment: a behavioral and electrophysiological study

Grant number: 22/05313-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Physiological Psychology
Principal researcher:Paulo Sérgio Boggio
Grantee:Fernanda Naomi Pantaleão
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (UPM). Instituto Presbiteriano Mackenzie. São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Human beings tend to use similar characteristics to categorize people around them, such as skin color, designating their racial ingroup and outgroup. The differentiation of "us" and "them" results in an ingroup preference and, in some situations, can also lead to a negative outgroup bias. Racial categorization can occur based on aspects of an individual's face, thus being associated with the perception of faces. Studies with EEG and faces of different ethnicities allow great precision in the assessment of the influence of racial bias in a task, considering the variations in electrical potential amplitudes for different faces. Moral judgment, as racial bias, can be influenced by our everyday context; thus, it is also affected by social categorization and, therefore, racial groups interfere in the way in which both in and outgroup members are judged. Thus, the present study aims to assess the influence of racial bias on moral judgment by analysis of electrophysiological data to help understand the factors underlying these processes. To this end, an instrument of moral judgment consisting of "newspaper headlines" with moral violations will be used. Then, it will be possible to understand how the racial bias towards ingroup members affects the way moral violations are judged and penalized. This project follows up on the work developed by the proponent's last scientific project with a FAPESP funding (project number: 2019/19946-8) and is part of international partnerships with the social psychologist Prof. David Amodio (New York University) in the area of racial bias and philosopher Prof. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Duke University) in the area of moral judgment, indicating the possibility of an internship abroad. (AU)

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