Student Authors:

Sarah S. Kramer '17, Gettysburg College

Kaitlin Lewin '19, Gettysburg College

Allison Romano '20, Gettysburg College

Faculty Co-Author:

Brian Meier, Department of Psychology

Document Type


Date of Creation


Department 1



The shooter bias effect reveals that individuals are quicker to “shoot” armed Black (vs. White) men and slower to “not shoot” unarmed Black (vs. White) men in a computer task. In three studies (N = 386), we examined whether being observed would reduce this effect because of social desirability concerns. Participants completed a “shooting” task with or without a camera/live observer supposedly recording behavior. Cameras were strapped to participants’ heads (Studies 1a/1b) and pointed at them (Study 1b). In Study 2, a researcher observed participants complete the task while “filming” them with a smartphone. We replicated the shooter bias, but observation only reduced the effect in Study 2. These results reveal that being observed can reduce the shooter bias effect.

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