Ask Bruce Bartholow about his current research projects, and the associate professor of psychology at MU will likely direct your attention to the large whiteboard mounted on his office wall. Crowded with names of collaborators and topics ranging from alcohol and race bias to video games and aggression, this board reveals the breadth of Bartholow’s research.
Bartholow describes his recent research project, funded by the University of Missouri Research Board, which measures the effects of alcohol consumption on the expression of racial bias in laboratory tasks.
The project on alcohol and race bias led Bartholow to explore the question of why alcohol reduces the brain’s response to errors. He found that alcohol reduces negative affect, increasing the subjects’ positive feelings and thus causing them to care less about their classification errors.
Bartholow explains that his research extends beyond an exploration of alcohol and its effects on social behaviors: it tells us about how the brain works.
Bartholow describes two current projects involving higher-order cognitive control. One, funded by the National Science Foundation, explores how individual differences in executive functioning affect the expression of racial bias, while the other explores alcohol’s effects on higher-order cognitive processes.