Resisting stereotype change: The role of motivation and attentional capacity in defending social beliefs

Kristen N. Moreno, Galen V. Bodenhausen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


We hypothesized that, by default, perceivers work to defend their social beliefs when counter stereotypic information is encountered. This process was expected to be circumvented when perceivers (a) adopt an accuracy orientation, or (b) lack the cognitive resources required for protecting their stereotypic beliefs. We examined this issue by manipulating perceivers' motivation and attentional capacity. Participants formed impressions of several targets displaying stereotype-consistent, -inconsistent, or -irrelevant behavior. Stereotypicality of participants' subsequent group perceptions was assessed via trait ratings. As predicted, following exposure to counter stereotypic information, participants maintained relatively greater levels of stereotyping when accuracy motivation was low and processing resources were high. We conclude that, although perceivers are typically motivated to defend their stereotypes, this process is effortful and can be disrupted by the imposition of a cognitive load or superseded by the induction of accuracy motivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Stereotype change
  • Subtyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Resisting stereotype change: The role of motivation and attentional capacity in defending social beliefs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this