July 25, 2017  

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Southern Miss Professor Co-Authors Paper Focusing on Alcohol Cues and Racial Discrimination

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A research paper regarding the effects of alcohol-related cues on racial discrimination co-authored by Dr. Elena Stepanova, assistant professor of psychology at The University of Southern Mississippi, has been accepted for publication by the European Journal of Social Psychology: Stepanova, E. V., Bartholow, B. D., Saults, J. S., and Friedman, R. S. (2017) Effects of Exposure to Alcohol-related Cues on Racial Discrimination. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2325

Stepanova points out that the paper, titled “Effects of Exposure to Alcohol-related Cues on Racial Attitudes and Discrimination, was inspired by previous research showing that individuals presented with alcohol-related cues – such as alcohol-related words or images – produces behaviors that are associated with actual alcohol consumption.

“It has been observed that people are more likely to express racial biases when under the influence of alcohol. But what about alcohol-related cues? Given how widespread issues of racial biases and discrimination area, and how omnipresent alcohol cues are in our environment, it seemed natural to investigate the link between presentation of alcohol-related cues and racial discrimination,” said Stepanova.

In the study participants were briefly presented with either alcohol-related or neutral (non-alcoholic) words. Later, when given the opportunity to aggress toward the experimenter, white participants exposed to alcohol-related words made harsher judgments of a black experimenter who had frustrated them than participants who were exposed to non-alcoholic words.

“This illustrates that alcohol-related cues can exacerbate racial discrimination,” said Stepanova. “I think the most important conclusion from this study is how powerful alcohol influences are, so that even simple/mere presence of alcohol cues (without actual alcohol consumption) can affect our behavior.”

The European Journal of Social Psychology is an international forum for high quality, peer reviewed, original research in all areas of social psychology and from all parts of the world. Submission are sought that provide a significant contribution to the understanding of social psychological phenomena and are based on empirical, meta-analytical or theoretical research. The European Journal of Social Psychology can be accessed at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1099-0992