On the third anniversary of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent man shot dead by police in London who thought he was a suicide bomber, a timely and depressing article currently in press in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology:
Does Islamic appearance increase aggressive tendencies, and what role does affect play in such responses? In a computer game, participants made rapid decisions to shoot at armed people, some of whom wore Islamic head dress. We predicted and found a significant bias for participants to shoot more at Muslim targets. We also predicted and found that positive mood selectively increased aggressive tendencies towards Muslims, consistent with affect-cognition theories that predict a more top-down, stereotypical processing style in positive mood. In contrast, induced anger increased the propensity to shoot at all targets. The relevance of these results for our understanding of real-life negative reactions towards Muslims is discussed, and the influence of affective states on rapid aggressive responses is considered.
- Christian Unkelbach, Joseph P. Forgas and Thomas F. Denson (in press). The turban effect: The influence of Muslim headgear and induced affect on aggressive responses in the shooter bias paradigm. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology