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Soc Psychol (Gott). 2010 Mar 1;41(3):152-157.

Explicit Control of Implicit Responses: Simple Directives can alter IAT Performance.

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  • 1Swarthmore College.


Research has begun to reveal the malleability of implicit prejudice. One measure of this construct, the race Implicit Association Test (IAT), represents a widely-used tool to assess individuals' positive and negative associations with different racial groups. In two studies, we demonstrate the capacity of salient pressures to alter implicit racial responses. In Study 1, an enhancement of promoting pressures through an explicit instruction to stereotype was sufficient to increase pro-White bias on the IAT. In Study 2, an enhancement of inhibiting pressures through a simple instruction to avoid stereotyping was sufficient to reduce pro-White bias. Taken together, the studies suggest that implicit prejudice is amenable to voluntary control through the use of simple, direct means.

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