Stereotype Activation and Inhibition

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

Preface

This is the eleventh volume of the Advances in Social Cognition series. From its inception, the purpose of the series has been to present and evaluate new theoretical advances in all areas of social cognition and information processing. An entire volume is devoted to each theory, allowing the theory to be evaluated from a variety of perspectives and permitting its implications for a wide range of issues to be examined

The series reflects two major characteristics of social cognition: the high level of activity in the field and the interstitial nature of the work. Each volume contains a target chapter that is timely in its application, novel in its approach, and precise in its explication. The target chapter is then followed by a set of companion chapters that examine the theoretical and empirical issues that the target has raised. These latter chapters are written by authors with diverse theoretical orientations, representing different disciplines within psychology and, in some cases, entirely different disciplines. Target authors are then given the opportunity to respond to the comments and criticisms of their work and to examine the ideas conveyed in the companion chapters in light of their own. The dialogue created by this format is both unusual and, we believe, extremely beneficial to the field.

The use of social stereotypes as a basis for judgments and behavioral decisions has been a major focus of social psychological theory and research since the field began. Both motivational and cognitive influences on stereotyping have been considered, although rarely have these two general types of influence been conceptually integrated within a common theoretical framework. Nevertheless, almost every area of theoretical and empirical concern in social cognition (areas focusing on the interpretation of new information, memory and retrieval processes, impression information, the use of heuristic versus analytic processing strategies, the role of affect in

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