Article

Implicit Social Cognition: Attitudes, Self-Esteem, and Stereotypes

Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.
Psychological Review (Impact Factor: 7.97). 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.

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    • "Much like status characteristics, stereotypes can impact the performance of the groups that they are applied to (see Nguyen and Ryan, 2008), even if the group members do not agree with the stereotype themselves. However the individual must be explicitly or implicitly (Greenwald and Banaji, 1995) primed on, or otherwise made aware of, their stereotyped status or the stereotyped status of others (Aronson et al., 1999) while performing a salient task (Steele and Aronson, 1995; Shih et al., 1999). For example, a female who completes a math test in an environment that makes her sex salient will generally exhibit poorer performance relative to a female whose sex is not made salient (Steele, 1997). "
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    • "Discussion of hot cognition. Research in psychology shows strong evidence for the automaticity of nonpolitical attitudes (Bargh et al., 1992;Fazio, 1992;Greenwald & Banaji, 1995), and we also find consistent and robust evidence of the spontaneous evaluation of political leaders, groups, and issues, especially for strong univalent attitudes and for political sophisticates. These effects are not consciously controlled, and they hold for semantically unrelated primes and targets. "
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    • "Particularly fascinating is the heritability of the implicit gender-science stereotype. Implicit social cognition has been extensively studied in past decades and substantial progresses have been made in understanding the nature of implicit attitudes , prejudice, and stereotypes (Gawronski & Payne, 2010).Heretofore, it has been widely assumed that implicit social cognition , including the implicit gender-science stereotype, is a kind of learned experience and is determined by environment (Dasgupta, 2013;Gawronski & Sritharan, 2010;Greenwald & Banaji, 1995). Our findings suggest that this is not true: about 38% of the variation in the implicit gender-science stereotype can be accounted for by genetic factors, which may partially explain why the gender-science stereotype is still persistent in cultures where females actually outperform males in science, such as in Singapore (Cvencek et al., 2014). "

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