This study used a survival horror videogame to examine the impact of scary sound effects on cardiovascular and affective arousal and determine whether differences in cardiovascular arousal increased bias in shooting people of color (POCs) first in a shooter task. We expected that participants who played the horror videogame with scary sound effects would have higher cardiovascular arousal and fear than those who played without sound effects. We also expected that increased cardiovascular arousal would increase the likelihood of shooting a POC first (first shot bias) later in a shooter game. The hypothesis that playing the survival horror videogame with scary sound effects would result in higher cardiovascular arousal was supported. First shot bias was not correlated with cardiovascular arousal. However, first shot bias was significantly and positively correlated with enjoyment of the shooter game. A post hoc, exploratory analysis indicated that participants in the scary sound effects condition were significantly more likely to shoot a POC first in the shooter task than those in the no sound effects condition when enjoyment of the shooter game was used as a covariate but not when the covariate was not included. However, this effect was small.

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