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On the Roles of Stereotype Activation and Application in Diminishing Implicit Bias


Stereotypes can influence social perception in undesirable ways. However, activated stereotypes are not always applied in judgments. The present research investigated how stereotype activation and application processes impact social judgments as a function of available resources for control over stereotypes. Specifically, we varied the time available to intervene in the stereotyping process and used multinomial modeling to independently estimate stereotype activation and application. As expected, social judgments were less stereotypic when participants had more time to intervene. In terms of mechanisms, stereotype application, and not stereotype activation, corresponded with reductions in stereotypic biases. With increasing time, stereotype application was reduced, reflecting the fact that controlling application is time-dependent. In contrast, stereotype activation increased with increasing time, apparently due to increased engagement with stereotypic material. Stereotype activation was highest when judgments were least stereotypical, and thus, reduced stereotyping may coincide with increased stereotype activation if stereotype application is simultaneously decreased.

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