Stereotype Activation and Inhibition

By Robert S. Wyer Jr. | Go to book overview

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Stereotype Activation and Inhibition

Galen V. Bodenhausen Northwestern University

C. Neil Macrae University of St. Andrews

Empirical inquiry into the social-cognitive dynamics of stereotyping has enjoyed a veritable explosion of interest over the past decade. The leading journals of the discipline regularly include reports of exciting new theoretical and empirical developments in our understanding of stereotyping phenomena. Indeed, several previous volumes of the present series were dedicated to a consideration of this work. This wealth of new knowledge presents some formidable challenges to researchers working in the stereotyping field. Foremost among these is the need to develop theoretical frameworks that not only can encompass and systematize the diversity of empirical phenomena that are emerging from frontline research, but also can provide promising directions for future empirical efforts and initiatives. Although no single theoretical framework is ever likely to do justice to the complexity of the emerging knowledge base, the time seems ripe to develop models that can account for a range of stereotyping phenomena by appealing to a reasonably parsimonious set of basic principles and cognitive processes. The present chapter represents a step in this direction.

The quest for theoretical integration, of course, extends well beyond the realm of stereotyping research and touches the very discipline of psychology itself. Many notable thinkers have lamented the fragmented state of

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