Stereotypes Can Be Learned through Implicit Associations or Explicit Rules
Two studies examined whether stereotypes can be created using different learning paradigms and whether the resulting stereotypes will have different properties that affect their activation, suppression, and explicit knowledge. In the Pilot Study, participants were able to learn to use clothing cues to predict membership using both an explicit paradigm that made declarative statements of group membership and an implicit paradigm based on feedback learning. In Study 1, implicit learners performed worse after a depletion task and better following a control task. Explicit learners did not change based on the depletion task. High trait self-control as measured by the Brief Self-Control Scale was shown to predict better performance in depleted implicit learners and worse performance in depleted explicit learners. In Study 2, participants in both the implicit and explicit learning conditions saw decreases in performance when trying to inhibit a previously learned cue. Trait self-control did not predict the ability to suppress the use of a specific cue. In both studies implicit learners made more accurate estimations of the cue probabilities, suggesting a stronger explicit knowledge of the relationship between the cues and group membership. These results provide initial evidence that the method of stereotype learning can have an impact on later stereotype usage although the mechanisms that lead to these differences require additional research.
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