Bodenhausen and Macrae say rather little about the nature of personal standards, generally considering situations in which these are in the direction of fairness or unbiasedness. One reason we think that personal stereotypes may be the default basis for perception is the relative primacy of self-related material in cognition. Bodenhausen and Macrae do not consider in much depth the role of self in the self-regulatory process. The SSM model explicitly includes a consideration of the salience of different selfimages and situational norms because these can provide some basis for predicting what kinds of standards will be invoked. Given motives for self-enhancement and self-protection, we can predict that when an intergroup categorization is salient, and in the absence of self-presentational demands, increased self-awareness should result in increased in-group bias, and more self-other differentiation (see also Simon, 1997). We would welcome an integration of the Bodenhausen and Macrae model with the social self-regulation model, as this could provide a way of including the self in the framework.
In conclusion, the role of inhibition in stereotyping may be more complex than is allowed in the apparent parsimony suggested by Bodenhausen and Macrae's model. Situations that call for stereotype inhibition may be akin to being asked to eat spaghetti with chopsticks -- difficult to do and demanding, if rather unusual. In characterizing these situations Bodenhauser and Macrae have done a considerable service to social psychology. The processes they have identified are important, and broadly we find their model quite compelling. Our comments are intended to open discussion and broaden the questions asked about stereotype inhibition to explore the generality of the processes, their relative frequency, and the extent to which they have consequences in more ecologically relevant settings.
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