Guilt-by-association: Moderations of implicit and explicit attitude generalization

Ranganath, Katherine A., Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Nosek, Brian, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

Attitude transfer occurs when the formation of attitudes toward a novel stimulus results from its associations with other valenced stimuli. Experiment 1 demonstrated the attitude transfer effect by showing that, in the short-term, people were able to explicitly resist using knowledge about one person in evaluating another person from the same group. However, the simple group association linking one individual to another produced implicit attitude generalization immediately and explicit attitude generalization after several days passed. Guilt-by-association (negative attitude generalization) and accolade-by-association (positive attitude generalization) were examined separately in Experiment 2. An asymmetry was found; negative implicit attitudes toward one group member transferred more readily to another member of the same group than positive implicit attitudes did. Explicitly, both negatively and positive generalization were resisted. Experiment 3 followed up on and replicated an unexpected result from Experiment 2 - implicit attitude generalization occurred to a greater extent between group members who look less prototypically European American than between group members who look more prototypical. Taken together, these results point to the importance of associative processes in the formation of stereotypes and suggest that, although people may explicitly endorse values like fairness or egalitarianism, implicit processes may make it difficult to practice them.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF text

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: