Black Police Uniforms Implicitly Increase Hostile Perceptions and Behavior
Use of excessive, and sometimes deadly, force by U.S. law enforcement officers is a critical and costly problem. An enclothed cognition framework suggests that clothing, such as a uniform, can implicitly affect cognitive processing and behavior of the wearer (Adam & Galinsky, 2012). Previous research demonstrated that darker clothing implicitly affects judgments and behavior in two ways. First, persons who wear darker clothing are perceived more negatively (Vrig, 1997; Vrig & Akehurst, 1997). Second, actors wearing darker colored clothing demonstrate greater aggressive behavior than actors wearing lighter colored clothing (Frank & Gilovich, 1988; Peña, Hancock, & Merola, 2009). The present research investigated the psychological effects of wearing a black or a white police uniform. Experiment 1A found that, when provoked, participants evaluated a confederate as more aggressive when wearing a black versus a white t-shirt. Experiment 1B failed to replicate this effect using a confederate dressed in a police-like uniform. Experiment 2 tested the enclothed cognition effects of a police-like uniform on self-perceptions and judgments within ambiguous policing contexts. There was little support for the hypothesis that the color of a police uniform biases judgements of the wearer. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.
Law enforcement|Social psychology
Lupo, Amber Kristin, "Black Police Uniforms Implicitly Increase Hostile Perceptions and Behavior" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10685479.