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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Nov;81(5):828-41.

Imagining stereotypes away: the moderation of implicit stereotypes through mental imagery.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 80309-0345, USA.


Research on implicit stereotypes has raised important questions about an individual's ability to moderate and control stereotypic responses. With few strategies shown to be effective in moderating implicit effects, the present research investigates a new strategy based on focused mental imagery. Across 5 experiments, participants who engaged in counterstereotypic mental imagery produced substantially weaker implicit stereotypes compared with participants who engaged in neutral, stereotypic, or no mental imagery. This reduction was demonstrated with a variety of measures, eliminating explanations based on response suppression or shifts in response criterion. Instead, the results suggest that implicit stereotypes are malleable, and that controlled processes, such as mental imagery, may influence the stereotyping process at its early as well as later stages.

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