The Effects of Stereotype Activation on Behavior: A Review of Possible Mechanisms

The Effects of Stereotype Activation on Behavior: A Review of Possible Mechanisms

By
S. Christian Wheeler, R.E. Petty
Psychological Bulletin. November
2001, Vol. 127, Issue 6, Pages 797-826

Considerable recent research has examined the effects that activated stereotypes have on behavior. Research on both self-stereotype activation and other-stereotype activation has tended to show that people behave in ways consistent with the stereotype (e.g., walking more slowly if the elderly stereotype is activated). Interestingly, however, the dominant account for the behavioral effects of self-stereotype activation involves a hot motivational factor (i.e., stereotype threat), whereas the dominant account for the behavioral effects of other-stereotype activation focuses on a rather cold cognitive explanation (i.e., ideomotor processes). The current review compares and contrasts the behavioral research on self- and other-stereotype activation and concludes that both motivational and cognitive explanations might account for effects in each domain.