Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Michael A. Olson

Committee Members

Lowell Gaertner, Dawn M. Szymanski, Lois Presser


Two studies explored the relationship between psychological distancing and prejudice. Results of Study 1 indicated that social identity threat differentially impacted implicitly measured prejudice and explicit distancing such that highly threatened individuals showed less automatic prejudice but increased explicit distancing from Blacks. Additionally, motivational processes relevant to psychological distancing and prejudice were explored. Study 2 examined psychological distancing as a mediator of the relationship between initial automatic prejudice and the efficacy of a common ingroup identity (CII) prejudice reduction technique. While this mediation was only tentatively supported, relationships between motivational processes, nonverbal behavior in interracial interactions, and post-interaction attitudes and behavior were explored. Results indicate that participants who were highly concerned with appearing prejudiced are actually perceived as displaying more prejudiced behavior during interracial interactions and report more prejudiced attitudes following the interaction.

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