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Stereotypes as Source-Monitoring Cues: On the Interaction Between Episodic and Semantic Memory


This research examined the use of stereotypic expectancies as source cues for biographical memories. Participants were more likely to misattribute stereotypical than counterstereotypical behaviors to a target person. However, this was true only when the original source of the behaviors was difficult to assess (there was source confusion) and recollective processes were impaired. Thus, when recollection of episodic details is disrupted, perceivers may still rely on semantic knowledge to interpret memories. These results demonstrate that stereotype use is efficient not only during the encoding of social information, hut also during its retrieval. However, there are also significant costs associated with using stereotypes as source cues. Implications of these findings for social perception and eyewitness testimony are discussed.

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