What's in a forename? Cue familiarity and stereotypical thinking.

C Neil MacRae, J. P. Mitchell, L. F. Pendry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent research has characterized categorical thinking as an essential component of the person perception process, Yet relatively little is known about the myriad factors that moderate the accessibility of this mode of thought. With regard to this we hypothesized that the subjective familiarity of a person's forename may play an important role in triggering categorical thinking. Specifically, category-based knowledge may be more accessible when triggered by familiar than unfamiliar forenames. We report the results of three experiments that supported this prediction. Relative to unfamiliar names, participants required less time to verify the gender of familiar forenames (Experiment 1) and semantic priming was more pronounced when stereotype-related material followed the presentation of familiar than unfamiliar items (Experiment 2). Also, familiar forenames attracted more extreme gender-based evaluations than their unfamiliar counterparts (Experiment 3). We consider the theoretical and methodological implications of these findings for a variety of issues in person perception. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science (USA).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-193
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume38
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • AUTOMATIC ACTIVATION
  • PERSON PERCEPTION
  • VISUAL-ATTENTION
  • COGNITIVE LOAD
  • ATTITUDES
  • ACCESSIBILITY
  • INFORMATION
  • FREQUENCY
  • BELIEFS
  • ACCESS

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