What Does It Take to Activate Stereotypes? Simple Primes Don't Seem Enough: A Replication of Stereotype Activation (Banaji & Hardin, 1996;Blair & Banaji, 1996)

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According to social cognition textbooks, stereotypes are activated automatically if appropriate categorical cues are processed. Although many studies have tested effects of activated stereotypes on behavior, few have tested the process of stereotype activation. Blair and Banaji (1996) demonstrated that subjects were faster to categorize first names as male or female if those were preceded by gender congruent attribute primes. The same, albeit smaller, effects emerged in a semantic priming design ruling out response priming by Banaji and Hardin (1996). We sought to replicate these important effects. Mirroring Blair and Banaji (1996) we found strong priming effects as long as response priming was possible. However, unlike Banaji and Hardin (1996), we did not find any evidence for automatic stereotype activation, when response priming was ruled out. Our findings suggest that automatic stereotype activation is not a reliable and global phenomenon but is restricted to more specific conditions.

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