When predominantly White participants in Western countries are asked to shoot individuals in a computer game who may carry weapons, they show a greater bias to shoot at outgroup members and people stereotyped as dangerous. The goal was to determine the extent to which shooter biases in the Middle East would vary as a function of target ethnicity and culturally appropriate or inappropriate headgear. Within a sample of 37 male Saudi Arabian residents, we examined shooter biases outside of Western nations for the first time. Targets in this task were either White or Middle Eastern in appearance, and wore either American style baseball caps or a Saudi Arabian style shemagh and igal. Our results replicated the bias to shoot racial outgroup members observed in Western samples; we found a bias to shoot White over Middle Eastern targets. Unexpectedly, we also found a bias for Saudi participants to shoot at people wearing culturally appropriate traditional Saudi headgear over Western style baseball caps. To explain this latter finding, we cautiously speculate that relative perceptions of dangerousness in the Middle East may be influenced by media exposure and changing social conditions in the region.

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Published in SAGE Open, v. 5, issue 1, p. 1-6.

© The Author(s) 2015

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