Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Criminal Justice: M.S.
School of Public Affairs
Douglas Lee Gilbertson
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
implicit bias, shoot-don’t shoot, fatal shootings, critical incident
This study used a videogame to simulate encounters that law enforcement officers may have with potentially hostile targets. Implicit bias is something that every person carries with him or her. It is unconsciously learned from the societies within which we live, from the overt to the subliminal messages that bombard us daily. This research attempted to determine whether implicit bias real and present, and to what extent can this notion be empirically observed. The literature review covered (1) What does the existing literature say about the nature and extent of implicit bias? (2) What are some examples of implicit bias? (3) Where do we learn, and how do we acquire, implicit bias? This explanatory study sought to determine whether implicit bias may contribute to fatal shooting events. Although not statistically significant, an analysis of the raw numbers of incorrect shots may suggest that participants were more likely to make a mistake (whether Type I or II Error) when the person in the scene was White rather than Black. Popular media would suggest that the unarmed black male would be shot the most, but this study’s sample population has suggested other results.
Adank, Ashton O., "Implicit Bias: The Decision to Shoot or Not Shoot" (2017). Culminating Projects in Criminal Justice. 6.