Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychological Science (MSPS)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Paul T. Fuglestad

Second Advisor

Dr. Curtis Phills

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. James Garner


This preregistered research sought to capture the mental images associated with the quarterback and wide receiver positions to understand race logic prevalent in the NFL using the two phase, reverse correlation image classification paradigm. Participants in phase one were randomly assigned to the quarterback or wide receiver group and responded to 300 forced choice side by side images, indicating which image appears most like the target position. From these responses, four images were created based on position (quarterback or wide receiver) and participant exposure to football related media content (high or low). These images were used as stimuli in phase two where 237 additional participants rated the images on race, intelligence, and athleticism.

It was hypothesized that the images created from phase one participants of quarterbacks would be rated as “more white” and the images of wide receivers would be rated as “more black,” consistent with racial stacking research. Additionally, football consumption was expected to have a polarizing effect on the ratings of the images. That is, the higher consumption participants would produce an image for quarterbacks that appears more white (black for wide receivers) than participants who have lower consumption. Finally, it was hypothesized that quarterbacks would be rated as more intelligent whereas wide receivers would be rated as more athletic. Contrary to predictions for consumption, participants with lower levels of exposure created images that were rated more consistently with race logic- the quarterback was rated as more white whereas the wide receiver was rated as more black. However, there were no significant differences in how each position was rated in terms of intelligence and athleticism. In general, quarterback images were rated higher in both intelligence and athleticism. Implications of current research findings are discussed as well as the race logic construct. Future research is needed to explore how players, coaches, and staff respond using various techniques including implicit measures.