STEREOTYPES AND MENTAL LIFE - THE CASE OF THE MOTIVATED BUT THWARTED TACTICIAN

L F PENDRY, Neil Macrae

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107 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two experiments investigated the effects of information-processing goals and attentional capacity on subjects' impressions of a target. In Study 1, extending previous research in this area, both information-processing goals and a resource depleting task were manipulated simultaneously. It was predicted that, in contrast with outcome-independent subjects, subjects who were made outcome-dependent upon a woman would make individuated evaluations of her. This effect, however, was anticipated to be contingent upon the availability of attentional resources. Under conditions of cognitive busyness, it was predicted that both outcome-independent and -dependent subjects would view the woman in a relatively stereotyped (i.e., less individuating) manner. Our results supported this prediction. Resource depletion appeared to diminish subjects' ability to individuate the woman, even when they were motivated to view her in such a manner. Study 2 utilized a probe reaction task to investigate the differential demands processing goals impose upon perceivers' attentional capacity. In line with our predictions, outcome-dependent subjects used more cognitive resources when learning about a woman than comparable outcome-independent subjects. Taken together, these results demonstrate the dynamic interaction between cognitive and motivational factors in the determination of perceivers' impressions of others. We consider these findings in the wider context of models of stereotyping and social inference. (C) 1994 Academic Press, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-325
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume30
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1994

Keywords

  • INDIVIDUATING INFORMATION
  • COGNITIVE BUSYNESS
  • SEX STEREOTYPES
  • ATTENTION
  • JUDGMENTS
  • ACCOUNTABILITY
  • PERSONALITY
  • INFERENCES
  • COMPONENTS
  • THINKING

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