- Reflecting and Assimilation and contrast in impression formation and automatic behavior.
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 37 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Factors influencing the tendency to represent a social stimulus primarily in stereotypic terms, or more as a distinct exemplar, were predicted to moderate automatic behavior effects, producing assimilation and contrast respectively. In Exp 1, the authors demonstrated that when an impression pertained to a group of elderly people it led to behavioral assimilation to the stereotype (i.e., slower response latencies) and to contrast when identical information pertained to an individual exemplar. In Exp 2, an impression of a single individual led to behavioral contrast under normal circumstances but to behavioral assimilation under cognitive load. Exp 3 demonstrated that while a group impression led to assimilation under normal conditions, this effect was eliminated under conditions of accuracy motivation. Conditions that fostered assimilation were characterized by more stereotypical impressions of the stimulus target(s) compared to conditions that fostered contrast. Implications for automatic behavior are discussed.
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