On the activation of Social Stereotypes: The moderating role of processing objectives,
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Two studies investigated the effects of processing goals (semantic vs presemantic) on stereotype activation. We posited that spontaneous stereotype activation would only occur when participants process targets (i.e., people) in a semantic manner. In line with this prediction, participants who first processed a target face in a semantic fashion were subsequently faster to verify words that were stereotypic of the target person's gender group compared to participants who had processed the face in presemantic ways. Face recognition, however, did not differ across processing goals. In a second experiment, we replicated these findings using a much shorter stimulus presentation time, verifying that conscious or intentional processes did not underlie the differential stereotype activation. We consider our findings in the context of contemporary issues in stereotyping and automaticity.