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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science