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Stereotype use and rebound following direct instructions and indirect cues: A cross -cultural study

Shen Zhang, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Research has found that stereotype suppression often leads to a rebound effect. People who attempt to suppress stereotypes are more likely to use them in subsequent judgments compared to people who did not initially attempt suppression. However, the rebound effect may be culturally specific (Zhang & Hunt, 2004). Further, research only has examined the effects of direct instructions to avoid stereotypes. This dissertation examined stereotype use following direct suppression instructions and indirect anti-bias cues from a cross-cultural perspective. We also explored how internal motivation (IM) and external motivation (EM) to avoid prejudice moderated these processes. We hypothesized that, like direct suppression instructions, indirect anti-bias cues would lead to stereotype suppression and rebound. Because they have more experience suppressing unwanted thoughts, Chinese participants would be less likely than U.S. participants to experience stereotype rebound regardless of type of instructions. Finally, because Chinese individuals prefer indirect communication styles, indirect cues were expected to be particularly effective for their suppression. ^ Participants were 439 college students from the U.S. and China, randomly assigned into one of three conditions: direct suppression instructions, indirect anti-bias cue, or a control condition. They wrote two stories about individuals from similarly stereotyped social groups in both cultures: illegal immigrants in the U.S. and migrant workers in China. As predicted, both direct suppression instructions and indirect cues were effective at eliciting stereotype suppression. Stereotype rebound was found to be a culturally specific phenomenon moderated by motivations to avoid prejudice. U.S. participants showed increased stereotype use regardless of instruction type. In contrast, Chinese participants who received indirect cues and high IM Chinese individuals who received direct instructions did not experience the rebound effect. The only Chinese participants who showed increased stereotype use were low IM individuals in the direct instruction condition, suggesting that indirect cues were more effective for Chinese individuals to maintain stereotype suppression. This study also provided initial evidence suggesting that the joint effects of IM and EM vary according to the suppression context. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social

Recommended Citation

Zhang, Shen, "Stereotype use and rebound following direct instructions and indirect cues: A cross -cultural study" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3186956.