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Stereotype Relevance Moderates Category Activation: Evidence From the Indirect Category Accessibility Task (ICAT)


The impact of behavioral stereotypicality on category accessibility was examined using a novel method, the Indirect Category Accessibility Task (ICAT). In the ICAT, participants learn to distinguish visual stimuli from two categories based on feedback. In two studies, participants were exposed to images of individuals behaving consistently, inconsistently, or irrelevantly with traditional gender stereotypes. ICAT learning was superior in the stereotype-consistent and stereotype-inconsistent conditions compared to the stereotype-irrelevant conditions. These results demonstrate that category relevance moderates category accessibility. Implications for social categorization and stereotype change models are discussed. © The Author(s) 2010.

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