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The effects of state self -esteem and individual prejudice level on explicit and implicit stereotyping

Lisa A Harrison, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The present research examines how individual prejudice level and threats to personal, state self-esteem may influence stereotyping, and how stereotyping may consequently influence personal, state self-esteem. Two studies were conducted in order to examine the influence of state self-esteem threat and prejudice level on explicit, controlled stereotyping as well as implicit, automatic stereotyping. ^ Study 1 examined whether low and high prejudice perceivers, who had recently experienced self-esteem threat, would evaluate a gay target more negatively than a straight target and whether this had a subsequent influence on their state self-esteem. The research revealed that following state self-esteem threat, high prejudice perceivers evaluated the gay target significantly more negatively than they did the straight target. However, low prejudice perceivers evaluated the gay and straight target equivalently. Subsequently, both high and low prejudice participants experienced an increase in state self-esteem following their evaluation of the gay target, but not the straight target. ^ Study 2 examined whether low and high prejudice perceivers, who had previously experienced self-esteem threat, differentially exhibited implicit gender stereotyping as measured by a semantic priming task and whether this had a subsequent influence on their state self-esteem. The data revealed that high prejudice perceivers exhibited implicit gender stereotyping regardless of whether they had previously experienced state self-esteem threat. Conversely, low prejudice perceivers only exhibited implicit gender stereotyping following state self-esteem threat. However, both low and high prejudice perceivers who had previously been subjected to state self-esteem threat displayed state self-esteem enhancement following their completion of the priming task. ^ The current research suggests that fluctuations in state self-esteem may enhance explicit stereotyping among high prejudice perceivers and decrease explicit stereotyping among low prejudice perceivers. Conversely, the research also indicates that downward fluctuations in state self-esteem may enhance the probability of implicit stereotyping among low prejudice perceivers. This program of research may help explain why stereotypes often have such a tenacious effect on cognitive processes, regardless of individual attitudes and beliefs. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social

Recommended Citation

Harrison, Lisa A, "The effects of state self -esteem and individual prejudice level on explicit and implicit stereotyping" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3009722.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3009722

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