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Publisher: Center for the Study of Group Processes, University of Iowa
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects:
This study examined anxiety as a potential moderator of stereotype change. Previous work has independently demonstrated an increase in stereotyping under conditions of high anxiety as well as following attempts to suppress stereotypic thought. The combination of these two antecedent conditions might thus be expected to produce an additive increase in stereotyping. In contrast to an additive pattern, however, we observed an interaction between anxiety and suppression task instruction. Whilst both the instruction to suppress (in the absence of anxiety) or anxiety (in the absence of the instruction to suppress) did independently increase stereotyping, when the two co-occurred, there was no change. We explain this interaction by considering work from neuropsychological domain on response perseverance: cognitive overload (one consequence of anxiety) may inhibit the ability to switch between modes of perception. These findings suggest a potentially important moderator for attempts to suppress social stereotypes, and point to the efficacy of integrating work from diverse domains for understanding the operation of executive processes in person perception.
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