Abstract: Computer Mediated Contact Induced Reduction of Social Bias towards Sexual Minorities

Hi everyone, my name is Yuchen Wang. I am a junior in the college double majoring in psychology and philosophy. This summer I will be doing research on how computer mediated communication affects people’s implicit bias towards sexual minorities.

Since discriminations towards sexual minorities are still causing physical and psychological harms to this outgroup, I am very interested in ways to reduce these discriminations, especially implicit discriminations. Because nowadays people show their biases less explicitly, making them harder to measure, but these biases can still result in judgment injustice and other problems.  Previous studies have shown that by physically working with outgroup members, i.e., working together for the same goal, will lead to a reduction of implicit bias towards that outgroup. So the goal of this study is to examine whether communications with outgroup members through computer can lead to the same result.

In the study, we will have participants to interact with a gay male or a straight male online through computer texting. They will be randomly assigned to chat with one male from the four categories: a gay male who fits the stereotypes, i.e., emotional, dainty, a gay male who doesn’t fit into the stereotypes, a straight male who fits the stereotypes for straight males, i.e., unemotional and tough, or a straight male who doesn’t fit into these stereotypes. After the conversation, the participants are asked to take several tests measuring their implicit attitudes towards gay people. I expect to find that people who interacted with gay people, especially gay people who don’t fit into the stereotypes, will show the least bias, comparing to the participants interacted with straight people.

For the summer I will focusing on cleaning data and drawing conclusions from the data I have been collecting from the 2016 spring semester. I am really looking forward to see what I can find from my research!