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Self-Control Over Automatic Associations

  • Author(s): Gonsalkorale, K;
  • Sherman, JW;
  • Allen, TJ
  • et al.

Processes that permit control over automatic impulses are critical to a range of goaldirected behaviors. This chapter examines the role of self-control in implicit attitudes. It is widely assumed that implicit attitude measures reflect the automatic activation of stored associations, whose expression cannot be altered by controlled processes. We review research from the Quad model (Sherman et al., 2008) to highlight the importance of two self-control processes in determining the influence of automatically activated associations. The findings of this research indicate that processes relating to detecting appropriate responses and overcoming associations contribute to performance on implicit attitude measures. These two processes work together to enable self-control of automatic associations; one process detects that control is needed, and the other process overcomes the associations to permit correct behavior. Implications for understanding self-control dilemmas are discussed.

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