Out of Mind but Back in Sight: Stereotypes on the Rebound

C. Neil Macrae*, Galen V. Bodenhausen, Alan B. Milne, Jolanda Jetten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

618 Scopus citations


For a variety of reasons, social perceivers may often attempt to actively inhibit stereotypic thoughts before their effects impinge on judgment and behavior. However, research on the psychology of mental control raises doubts about the efficacy of this strategy. Indeed, this work suggests that when people attempt to suppress unwanted thoughts, these thoughts are likely to subsequently reappear with even greater insistence than if they had never been suppressed (i.e., a "rebound" effect). The present research comprised an investigation of the extent to which this kind of rebound effect extends to unwanted stereotypic thoughts about others. The results provided strong support for the existence of this effect. Relative to control subjects (i.e., stereotype users), stereotype suppressors responded more pejoratively to a stereotyped target on a range of dependent measures. We discuss our findings in the wider context of models of mind, thought suppression, and social stereotyping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-817
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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