How the Motivation to Make Fair Judgments Influences Memory for In- and Out-Group Behavior

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In the present study, we investigated the subtle effect of instructing participants to make fair judgments by avoiding the influence of stereotypes on their judgments. Previous studies have shown that instructing participants to disregard a stereotype may lead to enhanced accessibility of that stereotype, which in turn facilitates the encoding and identification of stereotype-consistent information, but not of stereotype-irrelevant information. Extending this research, we examined the effect of giving fairness instructions on the encoding of stereotype-inconsistent and stereotype-consistent information: Participants who were instructed to avoid stereotypic judgments showed enhanced memory for stereotype-consistent as well as for stereotype-inconsistent information. Thus, instructing participants to make fair judgments had the undesired effect of enhancing memory for stereotype-consistent information, but also the desired effect of enhancing memory for stereotype-inconsistent information.

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