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The Effect of Behavioral Synchrony With Black or White Virtual Agents on Outgroup Trust

Sun, May 28, 15:30 to 16:45, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 2, Indigo Ballroom C


Trust toward outgroup members is generally lower than it is toward ingroup members. Behavioral synchrony with virtual outgroup characters has been identified as a means of improving attitudes toward outgroup members, but this effect has not been tested on behavior. We tested the effect of synchrony with an ingroup/outgroup virtual agent on a behavioral measure of outgroup trust. An experiment used an online economic game to obtain pretest and posttest measures of trust. In between these measures, participants played a dance video game on Xbox Kinect. They were randomly assigned to either an ingroup or outgroup agent partner. Game score served as a continuous measure of synchrony with the agent. Regression analysis revealed that agent race moderated synchrony’s effect on change in outgroup trust. Increased synchrony with an outgroup agent led to increased outgroup trust. Conversely, increased synchrony with an ingroup agent led to decreased outgroup trust.