This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Effect of Stereotype Threat on African Americans' Perception of Police Officer Communication Accommodation




Kinney, Jade

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling


Stereotype threat is a phenomenon that has been shown to produce inhibitory effects in cognitive and other processing (Najdowski, 2011; Osborne, 2007). This study analyzed whether stereotype threat differences occur between two racial groups during a police encounter. Characteristics of Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT; specifically accommodation versus nonaccommodation) could also contribute in alleviating the symptoms of stereotype threat that a suspect may endure during a police encounter. Through an online survey, the researcher investigated whether stereotype threat activation would occur for African Americans and if this activation influenced their perception of police officer communication accommodation. The results from this study indicate that there are no differences between racial/ethnic groups in how they perceived police officer communication accommodation. However, racial/ethnic group differences did occur when rating the neutral interaction of a police-civilian interaction that the participant listened to during the experiment. Future research should continue testing the implicit responses to stereotype threat activation as well as its connection to CAT and procedural justice.