Cognitive load and person memory: the role of perceived group variability

L F Pendry, Neil Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two studies investigated the effects of cognitive busyness and group variability on participants' memory for stereotype-related information, In Study 1, participants formed an impression of an experimentally created group that was either homogeneous or heterogeneous in composition. While learning about the group, half of the participants were made cognitively busy, the others were not. The results supported our prediction that stereotypical efforts on memory are moderated by both the availability of processing resources and the variability of the target group under consideration. Under optimal processing circumstances, participants' recollections were dominated by the perceived variability of the group in question. That is, participants displayed preferential recall for stereotype-consistent information when they believed the group to be homogeneous in composition, but a tendency to recall more stereotype-inconsistent information when they considered the group to be heterogeneous in nature, Under suboptimal processing conditions, however, a different pattern emerged. Now, participants preferentially recalled stereotype-consistent information regardless of the perceived variability of the group. These results were largely replicated in Study 2 when the perceived variability of a real social group was manipulated. We consider the implications of these findings for contemporary theories of stereotyping. (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-942
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume29
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999

Keywords

  • OUT-GROUP MEMBERS
  • INFORMATION-PROCESSING STRATEGIES
  • STEREOTYPE-BASED JUDGMENTS
  • SOCIAL CATEGORIZATION
  • IMPRESSION-FORMATION
  • IN-GROUP
  • INCONGRUENT INFORMATION
  • INDIVIDUATING PROCESSES
  • OUTCOME DEPENDENCY
  • GROUP HOMOGENEITY

Cite this

Cognitive load and person memory: the role of perceived group variability. / Pendry, L F ; Macrae, Neil.

In: European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 29, No. 7, 11.1999, p. 925-942.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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