ScientificbackgroundPrejudiceis an emotional response, associated with feelings of hate and fear (Cotterell& Neuberg, 2005) towards individuals who are unfamiliar. Discrimination is thedifferent, largely unfair treatment of an individual because of their outgroupstatus (Stratton & Hayes, 1999 (as cited in Boag and Carnelley2012). The reduction of negative attitudes and behaviours in society is important;attachment types have been linked with prejudice and discriminatory behaviour.
Attachmenttheory suggests that sensitive parenting encourages a child to develop a secureattachment type with a positive internal working model (Chen,Dweck & Johnson 2007). This internal working model is a mental representationof the world that aids understanding of the self and others. This model hasbeen found to influence attitudes and behaviours towards outgroups; insecureattachment types have been correlated with negative attitudes towardsimmigrants (Hofstra et al., 2005; van Oudenhoven & Hofstra, 2006). Althoughthese attachment patterns are stable (Hamilton, 2000) they can be temporarilyinduced via attachment priming (Baldwin, Keelan, Fehr, Enns, &Koh-Rangarajoo, 1996; Rowe & Carnelley, 2003). Many correlational studiessupport that primed attachment security reduces negative evaluations andaggressive behaviour towards outgroup individuals (Mikulincer & Shaver,2001). However, there is a lack of causal evidence.
Boag and Carnelley (2012) were the first inthe field to provide evidence of a causal effect between increased primedattachment security and the reduction of prejudice and discriminatory behaviourtowards Muslims. On reviewing this research there is a methodological weaknessthat reduces the internal validity of this causal link. Boagand Carnelley (2012) assumed priming attachment security increased secure basedthinking in the priming group in comparison to the control. However, anincrease in secure based thinking was not measured. Therefore, it may not bethe increase in secure based thinking that caused a reduction in prejudice anddiscrimination towards Muslims. To ensure internal validity of this effect, thepresent study will add a measure of secure based thinking to both before andafter the attachment priming task and the control task.
Tomeasure secured based thinking an implicit association test (IAT) (Egloff& Schmukle, 2002) will be applied. An IAT measures the strengths ofassociations between two concepts through observation of response latencies incategorization tasks. This measure has been found to have good reliability andpredictive validity in several experimental settings (Egloff & Schmukle,2002). As research highlights that individuals may not be aware of theirattachment security or be embarrassed to report it truthfully (Leak &Parsons, 2000) the IAT is a valid measure as it is implicit and is notsusceptible to social desirability (Greenwald, Poehlman, Uhlmann, & Banaji,2009).
This will uphold a positive aspect of Boag and Carnelley’s study (2012) wherethey ensured social desirability did not confound results. The following studywill add an IAT of secure based thinking. If an increase in secure basedthinking is recorded, a reduction in prejudice and discrimination can beattributed to this effect and therefore provide internal validity to a causallink. Aimsand HypothesesTheaim of this research is to address a previous methodological issue from Boagand Carnelley’s (2012) findings. Attachment priming was found to reduceself-report and discriminatory behaviour, however an effect of attachmentpriming was not measured. Therefore, it is unclear as to whether attachmentpriming increased secure based thinking.Withthe application of an additional measure, an IAT, this study aims to improvethe internal validity of Boag & Carnelley’s research.
An IAT will measuresecure based thinking before and after the attachment priming task. Anyincrease in secure based thinking will be attributed to attachment priming. Thereforeany reduction in self report and behavioural discrimination can be consideredan effect of attachment priming. This will provide internal validity toprevious research of a causal link between primed attachment securityinfluencing subsequent self-report discrimination choice and behavioural discriminationtowards Muslims. This could lead to the development of attachment primingintervention to reduce discrimination and prejudice against Muslims withintoday’s society.Previousresearch demonstrates priming attachment increases secure based thinking. Therefore,a hypothesis tested in this study will be: Individuals taking part in theattachment priming task will have lower IAT scores in comparison to the neutralgroup.
A further two hypotheseswill be tested:Individualsthat have been primed with attachment security will have a lower self-reportdiscrimination choices against Muslims in comparison to the control. Individualsthat have been primed with attachment security will display lowerdiscriminatory behaviour against Muslims in comparison to the control. MethodsParticipantsStudentswill be recruited for course credits from a British University.MeasuresIATSecurebased thinking will be measured using a computerized IAT. Stimuli from securecharacteristics (e.g. trusting) and insecure characteristics (e.g.
selfishness)will be presented as well as the self (e.g., me) and other (e.
g., they)categories. Easier pairings (faster responses) will be concluded to be morestrongly associated in a person’s memory than more difficult pairings (Egloff& Schmukle, 2002).Priming Attachmentsecurity will be primed with a visualization and writing task (Rowe , 2003). Participants will be instructed to think and write for 10minutes about a close relationship displaying attachment security.
Participantsin the neutral priming condition will write about a shopping trip.Self-reporteddiscrimination housemate choiceParticipantswill choose a new housemate. They will be given 4 pairs to choose between,where one of each pair will be from a traditional outgroup: ‘slim’ or ‘obese’,’gay/lesbian/bisexual’ or ‘heterosexual’, ‘disabled’ or ‘able bodied’, and’Muslim’ or ‘non-Muslim’.
Non-discriminatory choices will be coded as ‘0’ anddiscriminatory choices will be coded as ‘1’. Preference fordiscrimination choice.Eachhousemate choice will have a measure of preference for the individual they havechosen. High scores on a scale (0 – 100) will indicate higher preference for a discriminatorychoice.Social desirabilityAversion of the Marlow-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Ray, 1984) will be usedwhere high scores equal high levels of socially desirable responding.Behavioural DiscriminationThedistance between the belongings and the chair selected by a participant will berecorded (Macrae, Bodenhausen, Milne, and Jetten’s, 1994 (as cited in Boag andCarnelley, 2012). Larger distances, judged in number of chairs will signify higherbehavioural discrimination.ProcedureParticipantswill be told the study is measuring how familiarity with work colleagues effectsabilities in creative tasks.
Participants will complete the IAT, followed by anattachment priming task or a neutral prime. Participants willcomplete the IAT again. Before participants enter a second laboratory they willbe asked to familiarise themselves with an image of a Muslim (shoulders up, of abearded man of mid-toned skin, with a white shirt/ prayer cap) for 2 minutes.As participants enter the room they will be told the second participant has ‘nippedout’. On the first chair, there will be the belongings of the co-participant(black jacket, scarf, and an open bag containing books in Arabic) as if he issitting there. The researcher will then leave and ask the participant to sit andcomplete a questionnaire (discrimination choice and social desirabilitymeasures). Another researcher will record the distance the participant sitsrelative to the first chair via a one-way mirror.
Afterthree minutes the researcher will end the experiment and probe the participantfor any suspicion of the male being a ‘co- participant’. Data from anysuspicious participant will be removed to prevent social desirability. Due tothe use of deception, participants will be given a full debrief on the trueexperimental aims and encouraged to ask questions. ResultsThelevel of secure based thinking will be analysed using a factorial analysis ofvariance with one within participant’s factor of IAT timing (before vs. after)and one between- participants factor of type of prime (attachment vs. neutral).The results will demonstrate that the type of prime and the IAT timingssignificantly affect levels of secure based thinking.
Individuals primed willhave a significantly lower IAT score than those in the writing task, showinggreater secure based thinking in comparison to the neutral condition. Theprime will not affect the choice of a Muslim as a housemate or the choice and preferencetowards non target groups. However, a one-way analysis of variance will beexpected to find that individuals primed with attachment security will report asignificantly lower preference for their discriminatory choice against theMuslim person. Individualsprimed with attachment security will sit significantly closer to the Muslimparticipant’s chair than those in the non-primed task.
These finding willsuggest that primed attachment security leads to less preference for adiscriminatory choice and decreases behavioural discrimination towards Muslims.Abetween-groups analysis of covariance will show that the effect of primedsecurity on lower preference for a discriminatory housemate choice againsta Muslim is not due to socially desirable responding. This will be repeatedwith behavioural discrimination and show no effect of social desirableresponding. Finally, a correlation will display an association betweendiscrimination measures; those who have higher discriminatory preferences willdemonstrate greater behavioural discrimination against a Muslim.