Date of Conferral







Charles Diebold


Following the 9/11 terror attacks, many Americans experienced some form of habit or mood-altering stress though, most had received their impressions of the violence via distributed media reporting rather than firsthand exposure. Researchers have found that the propagating effects of media broadcasting can exasperate the effects of terror. However, little is known of how reports of terror violence affect group dynamics in geographically distant nations. The purpose of this study, following terror management theory, was to understand if terrorist violence influences cognitive and implicit racial evaluations in a culturally similar, but geographically distant, population. The study's design was a quantitative natural experiment. Time of completing the assessment, either before or after the 2015 Paris Bataclan terror attack, comprised the 2-level independent variable; the dependent variables were the Race Implicit Association Test (IAT) and a cognitive evaluation of racial anxiety. Age and religiosity served as covariates. The target population included White citizen residents of the United States over the age of 18; 263 participants were derived from archival data. Comparisons of raw IAT scores showed an 8% increase in negative implicit racial evaluations following the attack; however, the MANCOVA failed to achieve multivariate significance (p > .05). Despite the lack of statistical significance, important details on implicit racial attitudes were uncovered. Results of this study have the potential to foster positive social change by informing individuals on how their implicit associations might be affected following exposure to reports of terrorist violence. Additionally, these findings may guide national security and intelligence professional's development of post-attack response measures and task forces.