Implicit social cognition: attitudes, self-esteem, and stereotypes.

Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.
Psychological Review (Impact Factor: 9.8). 02/1995; 102(1):4-27. DOI: 10.1037//0033-295X.102.1.4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Social behavior is ordinarily treated as being under conscious (if not always thoughtful) control. However, considerable evidence now supports the view that social behavior often operates in an implicit or unconscious fashion. The identifying feature of implicit cognition is that past experience influences judgment in a fashion not introspectively known by the actor. The present conclusion--that attitudes, self-esteem, and stereotypes have important implicit modes of operation--extends both the construct validity and predictive usefulness of these major theoretical constructs of social psychology. Methodologically, this review calls for increased use of indirect measures--which are imperative in studies of implicit cognition. The theorized ordinariness of implicit stereotyping is consistent with recent findings of discrimination by people who explicitly disavow prejudice. The finding that implicit cognitive effects are often reduced by focusing judges' attention on their judgment task provides a basis for evaluating applications (such as affirmative action) aimed at reducing such unintended discrimination.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It is unclear whether mindfulness meditation influences implicit self-representations.•Healthy adults took part in an 8-week mindfulness-oriented meditation training (MOM).•We assessed changes in implicit and explicit religious/spiritual (RS) self-attitudes.•MOM led to increases in implicit RS in individuals with low pre-existing implicit RS.•MOM also led to widespread increases in explicit self-referential RS representations.
    Consciousness and Cognition 11/2014; 30. · 2.31 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Discrepancies between implicit and explicit self-esteem have been linked with internalizing problems among mainly adolescents and adults. Longitudinal research on this association in children is lacking. This study examined the longitudinal link between self-esteem discrepancies and the development of internalizing problems in children. It furthermore examined the possible mediating role of self-esteem discrepancies in the longitudinal link between experiences of peer victimization and internalizing problems development. Children (N = 330, M age = 11.2 year; 52.5 % female) were followed over grades five (age 11 years) and six (age 12 years). Self-report measures were used annually to test for victimization and internalizing problems. Implicit self-esteem was assessed using an implicit association test, while explicit self-esteem was assessed via self-reports. Self-esteem discrepancies represented the difference between implicit and explicit self-esteem. Results showed that victimization was associated with increases in damaged self-esteem (higher levels of implicit than explicit self-esteem. Additionally, damaged self-esteem at age 11 years predicted an increase in internalizing problems in children over ages 11 to 12 years. Furthermore, damaged self-esteem mediated the relationship between age 11 years victimization and the development of internalizing problems. No impact of fragile self-esteem (lower levels of implicit than explicit self-esteem) on internalizing problems was found. The results thus underscore that, as found in adolescent and adult samples, damaged self-esteem is a predictor of increases in childhood internalizing problems. Moreover, damaged self-esteem might explain why children who are victimized develop internalizing problems. Implications are discussed.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2014; · 3.09 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Are individuals responsible for behaviour that is implicitly biased? Implicitly biased actions are those which manifest the distorting influence of implicit associations. That they express these ‘implicit’ features of our cognitive and motivational make up has been appealed to in support of the claim that, because individuals lack the relevant awareness of their morally problematic discriminatory behaviour, they are not responsible for behaving in ways that manifest implicit bias. However, the claim that such influences are implicit is, in fact, not straightforwardly related to the claim that individuals lack awareness of the morally problematic dimensions of their behaviour. Nor is it clear that lack of awareness does absolve from responsibility. This may depend on whether individuals culpably fail to know something that they should know. I propose that an answer to this question, in turn, depends on whether other imperfect cognitions are implicated in any lack of the relevant kind of awareness.In this paper I clarify our understanding of ‘implicitly biased actions’ and then argue that there are three different dimensions of awareness that might be at issue in the claim that individuals lack awareness of implicit bias. Having identified the relevant sense of awareness I argue that only one of these senses is defensibly incorporated into a condition for responsibility, rejecting recent arguments from Washington & Kelly for an ‘externalist’ epistemic condition. Having identified what individuals should – and can – know about their implicitly biased actions, I turn to the question of whether failures to know this are culpable. This brings us to consider the role of implicit biases in relation to other imperfect cognitions. I conclude that responsibility for implicitly biased actions may depend on answers to further questions about their relationship to other imperfect cognitions.
    Consciousness and Cognition 11/2014; · 2.31 Impact Factor