Promoting Justice or Perpetuating Prejudice? Interrupting External Motivation in Multicultural Training

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The effects of responding to social pressure (external motivation) are short-lived. Multicultural training, however, seeks to promote change in students and trainees that will be transformative and long-lasting. To this end, understanding the motivational factors that inform training is key. The present study was an investigation of the factors underlying external motivation to respond without prejudice for White individuals from the perspective of Higgins’s regulatory focus (promotion and prevention) and regulatory mode (assessment and locomotion) theories. The results indicate that locomotion was negatively associated with external motivation to respond without prejudice, while assessment and prevention were positively associated with external motivation. Taken together, findings highlight the importance of cultivating locomotion (action oriented) motivation and inhibiting prevention (loss oriented) and assessment (preoccupation with finding the correct answer) motivations in multicultural training. Implications for training, effective action for justice, and future research are discussed.

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