Saying no to unwanted thoughts: Self-focus and the regulation of mental life

Neil Macrae, G V Bodenhausen, Alan Berkeley Milne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

124 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Drawing from models of mental control and cognitive self-regulation, it was hypothesized that heightened self-focus would promote the spontaneous suppression of social stereotypes, Participants who were induced to experience heightened self-focus indeed produced less stereotypic descriptions of social targets (Studies 1-4). Study 5 further demonstrated that self-focus produced reductions in stereotyping only among those participants whose personal standards dictated stereotype avoidance. A final study demonstrated that these spontaneous forms of stereotype suppression can produce a rebound effect, in which the magnitude of stereotyping increases markedly after a period of suppression. These findings are considered in the context of contemporary issues in mental control and social stereotyping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-589
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume74
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998

Keywords

  • IMPRESSION-FORMATION
  • STEREOTYPES
  • ATTENTION
  • AWARENESS
  • PREJUDICE
  • INFORMATION
  • SUPPRESSION
  • PERCEPTION
  • ACTIVATION
  • ATTITUDES

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