Chapter 3 – feeling versus thinking in the activation and application of stereotypes
The question is when we have stereotypes about other groups, will we react on the basis of our
stereotypes OR our negative feelings (prejudices).
Affect influences the accessibility of constructs in memory and thus may determine which of many social
representations are primed, and which characteristic in a given representation become activated.
Types of intergroup affect
Incidental affect is defined as the affect that is elicited by situations unrelated to the intergroup context,
and integral affect is elicited within the intergroup context and involves the stereotyped outgroup and
integral affect can also arise merely form thinking about the outgroup. Chronic outgroup affect is having
a stable feeling toward the outgroup as a whole while episodic outgroup affect is a individual having an
affective reaction within an interaction with a specific outgroup member.
Chronic outgroup affect – research suggests that although the overt form of prejudice toward
African Americans may be much less prevalent, prejudice continues to exist in a more subtle form.
Aversive racists truly believe they are egalitarian and regard themselves as nonprejudiced; however,
they also possess negative feelings about African Americans – they do this in a subtle, easily
When people feel negative affect, they are especially likely to describe racial outgroups using
unfavourable characteristics. Research supports the notion that anxiety may be a common emotion felt
among interactants in intergroup contexts.
There are four types of emotion that appeared to be strongly related to ethnic attitudes:
positive mood, anxiety, irritation, and concern.
In sum, there appears to be a solid empirical basis for the notion that the intergroup context
brings with it an emotional component for the interactants, and that factors such as proximity and
degree of personal contact in the intergroup context, physical and personality characteristics of the
outgroup members, etc.
Episodic Outgroup Affect
It appears that affect induced in a context unrelated to the outgroup can have an impact on attitudes
toward judgements about the outgroup.
Influence on positive affect
People who are happy tend to process information less analytically; they rely on heuristic cues, initial
judgements, decisional shortcuts, and other simplifying strategies. Effects of negative affect
Incidental anger and anxiety tend to lead to increased use of stereotypes in social judgements, whereas
sadness does not lead to an increased tendency to stereotype others.
Motivational versus cognitive-capacity deficits
It is likely the case that investigating the separate effects these two factors have on the influence of
mood on stereotyping may be fruitless because they are linked together. Also, other research says that
moods do not have stable implications and that they have different meanings depending on the
person’s interpretation of the mood.
Subliminal messages – complex subliminal messages cannot be detected below the level of awareness
but simple symbols, sounds, or words may be perceived below the level of awareness.
Implicit measures of retention reflect unconscious learning and people with amnesia do show implicit
memory through implicit tests.
Research has shown that whether one will stereotype another may be influenced by previous exposure
to information, information the subject is unaware of at the time of subsequent testing and this is
referred to implicit stereotyping.
Spreading-activation model of memory says that when one thinks of a concept, related concepts are
automatically activated in memory, and the time it takes to access those related concepts is markedly
reduced as a result of the spreading activation.
It is important that to establish an implicit stereotyping effect, the individual must not be aware of the
influence of the prime on their responses to the subsequent words.
The implicit Association Test
If an individual shows a preference for a category, it just means there is a stronger association between
certain traits and the category . IAT measures associations to a category.
Automatically activated evaluations of an outgroup can be significantly influenced by moderating
variables such as one’s motivation to control prejudiced responses. It was found that the predicitive
validity of implicit attitudes is four times greater if the outgroup is perceive