Functional modularity in stereotype representation

Kimberly A. Quinn*, Kurt Hugenberg, Galen V. Bodenhausen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We employed the retrieval-practice paradigm to test the hypothesis that stereotypes are organized in a meaningful, valence-based way that promotes evaluative coherence. Replicating previous research, we demonstrated that the rehearsal of traits known to describe a target person produced enhanced recall of those practiced traits and reduced recall of other known but non-practiced traits, relative to baseline. However, both the availability of a group label that united the traits within a stereotype and the evaluative consistency of the practiced and non-practiced traits moderated the nature of these effects: although recall of non-practiced stereotypic traits that were evaluatively inconsistent with the practiced traits showed the typical pattern of inhibition, recall of non-practiced stereotypic traits that were evaluatively consistent with the practiced traits was facilitated relative to baseline. We conclude by discussing how the modular representation implied by these findings is functional, potentially fostering the momentary experience of evaluative consistency in person perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-527
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Evaluative coherence
  • Facilitation
  • Inhibition
  • Person memory
  • Retrieval-induced forgetting
  • Stereotype representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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