Our results did not support our hypothesis that shorter reaction time would be needed to identify gender name after showing a congruent stereotypical priming word. On the contrary, our data showed that there was not significant difference on how long it took for participants to label a name as male or female after presenting either a congruent or an incongruent stereotypical prime. Likewise, reaction times in trials containing neutral primes were not significantly different to typical gender priming trials. A plausible explanation for these unexpected results could be that the SOA (stimulus onset asynchrony) of 350-ms applied in this study could have been too long, therefore, allowing participants to inhibit their automatic stereotypical response. If this were the case, this would contradict Blair and Banaji (1996)’s assumption that 350-ms were enough to prevent participants for controlling a response that otherwise would be automatically elicited.
Similar studies have found that priming is not enough to activate stereotypes. For example, Macrae et al. (1994) said that when participants have the intention of avoid stereotypical responses, they fall less on that compared to those that do not have the intention to avoid stereotype. However, literature regarding stereotypes activate does not have a clear operationalization of what intention means in a semantic task performance. In Macrae et al. (1994) study, participants were said to become more intentional once they were given more information of what the study was about.
Nonetheless, other variables could come into play when this information is not given, but still the activation of stereotypes does not appear so automatically. Some of those other variables can be cog...
... middle of paper ...
... if the participants being more prejudiced show a different activation rate than others less prejudiced.
The present study adds on to the bulk of current information about stereotypes’ activation. From its results, we can conclude that priming facilitates the activation of stereotypes, however, many factors intervene in the effectiveness of priming. One of them is the cognitive state, which includes resources availability, stereotypes predisposition, and processing goals. The second one is related to the individuals’ levels of prejudiced attitudes. Lastly, there have been evidences of gender differences on stereotypes activations. All of these factors are important at the time to design an experiment aimed to find stereotype activation, acknowledging that stereotypes are a complex psychological phenomenon that is not only determined by simple priming.
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