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Perceived Threat Associated with Police Officers and Black Men Predicts Support for Policing Policy Reform.

Skinner AL, Haas IJ - Front Psychol (2016)

Bottom Line: Experimental evidence indicated that priming participants to associate Black men with threat could also reduce support for policing policy reform, and this effect was moderated by internal motivation to respond without prejudice.Priming participants to associate police officers with threat did not increase support for policing policy reform.Moreover, findings suggest that publicizing racially charged police encounters, which may conjure associations between Black men and threat, could reduce support for policing policy reform.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Washington Seattle, WA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Racial disparities in policing and recent high-profile incidents resulting in the deaths of Black men have ignited a national debate on policing policies. Given evidence that both police officers and Black men may be associated with threat, we examined the impact of perceived threat on support for reformed policing policies. Across three studies we found correlational evidence that perceiving police officers as threatening predicts increased support for reformed policing practices (e.g., limiting the use of lethal force and matching police force demographics to those of the community). In contrast, perceiving Black men as threatening predicted reduced support for policing policy reform. Perceived threat also predicted willingness to sign a petition calling for police reform. Experimental evidence indicated that priming participants to associate Black men with threat could also reduce support for policing policy reform, and this effect was moderated by internal motivation to respond without prejudice. Priming participants to associate police officers with threat did not increase support for policing policy reform. Results indicate that resistance to policing policy reform is associated with perceiving Black men as threatening. Moreover, findings suggest that publicizing racially charged police encounters, which may conjure associations between Black men and threat, could reduce support for policing policy reform.

No MeSH data available.


Timeline of data collection for all studies within the context of critical events related to the policing policy reform debate.
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Figure 3: Timeline of data collection for all studies within the context of critical events related to the policing policy reform debate.

Mentions: Across four studies we found that threat associations predicted support for policing policy reform. These findings show a general tendency to oppose reform and support less restrictive policing policies among those who associate Black men with threat. Associating police officers with threat predicted just the opposite. We suspect that variability in these relationships across samples on specific policy items may be a product of shifts in the national debate over these issues. All data were collected at a time in which extensive media coverage and debate surrounded the issue of race and policing policy reform, thus there could have been many ways in which the larger events happening in the real-world could have influenced our data. For example, while all data were collected after Michael Brown's death, amidst the Black Lives Matter movement, there continued to be highly publicized lethal encounters with police throughout the year of data collection (e.g., the deaths of Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Samuel DuBose). See Figure 3 for a timeline of data collection for all studies within the context of critical events related to the policing policy reform debate. Thus, it may have been particularly challenging to experimentally manipulate threat associations in a cultural context in which threat associations are simultaneously being primed by the media. Intense media coverage and national debate over policing policy reform may have resulted in more intransigent policy positions. Future work, when debate over race and policing are not at the media forefront, may be able to address this issue.


Perceived Threat Associated with Police Officers and Black Men Predicts Support for Policing Policy Reform.

Skinner AL, Haas IJ - Front Psychol (2016)

Timeline of data collection for all studies within the context of critical events related to the policing policy reform debate.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4940419&req=5

Figure 3: Timeline of data collection for all studies within the context of critical events related to the policing policy reform debate.
Mentions: Across four studies we found that threat associations predicted support for policing policy reform. These findings show a general tendency to oppose reform and support less restrictive policing policies among those who associate Black men with threat. Associating police officers with threat predicted just the opposite. We suspect that variability in these relationships across samples on specific policy items may be a product of shifts in the national debate over these issues. All data were collected at a time in which extensive media coverage and debate surrounded the issue of race and policing policy reform, thus there could have been many ways in which the larger events happening in the real-world could have influenced our data. For example, while all data were collected after Michael Brown's death, amidst the Black Lives Matter movement, there continued to be highly publicized lethal encounters with police throughout the year of data collection (e.g., the deaths of Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Samuel DuBose). See Figure 3 for a timeline of data collection for all studies within the context of critical events related to the policing policy reform debate. Thus, it may have been particularly challenging to experimentally manipulate threat associations in a cultural context in which threat associations are simultaneously being primed by the media. Intense media coverage and national debate over policing policy reform may have resulted in more intransigent policy positions. Future work, when debate over race and policing are not at the media forefront, may be able to address this issue.

Bottom Line: Experimental evidence indicated that priming participants to associate Black men with threat could also reduce support for policing policy reform, and this effect was moderated by internal motivation to respond without prejudice.Priming participants to associate police officers with threat did not increase support for policing policy reform.Moreover, findings suggest that publicizing racially charged police encounters, which may conjure associations between Black men and threat, could reduce support for policing policy reform.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Washington Seattle, WA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Racial disparities in policing and recent high-profile incidents resulting in the deaths of Black men have ignited a national debate on policing policies. Given evidence that both police officers and Black men may be associated with threat, we examined the impact of perceived threat on support for reformed policing policies. Across three studies we found correlational evidence that perceiving police officers as threatening predicts increased support for reformed policing practices (e.g., limiting the use of lethal force and matching police force demographics to those of the community). In contrast, perceiving Black men as threatening predicted reduced support for policing policy reform. Perceived threat also predicted willingness to sign a petition calling for police reform. Experimental evidence indicated that priming participants to associate Black men with threat could also reduce support for policing policy reform, and this effect was moderated by internal motivation to respond without prejudice. Priming participants to associate police officers with threat did not increase support for policing policy reform. Results indicate that resistance to policing policy reform is associated with perceiving Black men as threatening. Moreover, findings suggest that publicizing racially charged police encounters, which may conjure associations between Black men and threat, could reduce support for policing policy reform.

No MeSH data available.