Patterns of Implicit and Explicit Attitudes II. Long-Term Change and Stability, Regardless of Group Membership

Tessa E.S. Charlesworth, Mahzarin R. Banaji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, implicit attitudes about sexual orientation, race, and age have revealed both change toward neutrality (sexuality and race attitudes) and stability (age attitudes). But how consistently have such patterns of change and stability unfolded across U.S. society? Are the trends widespread, with most demographic groups changing or remaining stable in parallel, at the same rate and in the same direction? Or are the trends more idiosyncratic, with groups moving at different rates and/or directions, revealing nonparallel change? The answer can reveal whether the sources of change are unfolding at the collective, macrolevel of society, or at the mezzo-level of demographic group memberships. Results from over 2.5 million tests of sexuality, race, and age attitudes, collected continuously in the United States over 10 years (2007–2016) show that attitude trends are largely parallel across most demographic groups (e.g., respondents’ gender, race, education). Parallel trends are more strongly evident in implicit social group attitudes, with explicit attitudes showing relatively more nonparallel trends. Two demographics, respondent age and political orientation, are exceptions: younger and politically liberal groups are generally changing faster toward implicit attitude neutrality than older and conservative groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-869
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021


  • Attitude change
  • Demographics
  • Explicit attitudes
  • Implicit attitudes
  • Time series analysis (arima)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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