Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-19-2020

Document Type



Chambers, Grace. Implicit Racial Bias on College Campuses: A Study of Undergraduate Students. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. March 2020.


Copyright Grace Chambers 2020.


Past studies have investigated the existence of and meanings behind implicit racial biases and bias testing. This study intended to explore the role of exposure to our own implicit racial biases and intentions to change explicit attitudes after exposure. Data was collected from undergraduate students in the form of a pre-Implicit Associations Test (IAT) survey, an IAT, and a post-IAT survey. A quantitative approach was adopted to analyze the data after it was collected. My research questions were: How do biases distribute across social groups? What do participants intend to do with their results on the implicit bias test? From data pertaining to the first research question, three primary themes emerged: relativity between sex and racial bias, relativity between class and racial bias, and relativity between race and racial bias. The first theme suggested that females in the study were more likely to have positive biases towards Blacks than White men. The second theme suggested that those in a lower socioeconomic status were more likely to have positive biases towards Whites than those in a lower socioeconomic status. The third theme suggested that Whites and Non-whites were equally just as likely to be biased in either direction (towards Blacks or Whites) as well as to have no biases. From the data pertaining to the second research question, three primary themes emerged as well: those with biases were more likely to indicate an intention to change their explicit actions than those without biases, people were not willing to change intentions when it came to online presence, or when it came to familial presence. The support for these results was interpreted through the racial threat hypothesis, middleman theory, and social desirability bias. Implications for researchers is to consider for future studies the actual explicit actions that occur after people indicate intentions to change, and the actual change in racial biases long term both with and without bias training.