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Understanding patterns of attitude change: When implicit measures show change, but explicit measures do not

by Bertram Gawronski, Etienne P. LeBel
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology ()

Abstract

A common assumption in research on attitudes is that indirect measures assess relatively stable implicit attitudes, whereas traditional self-report measures assess more recently acquired explicit attitudes that coexist with old, presumably stable implicit attitudes. This assumption seems difficult to reconcile with research showing experimentally induced changes on implicit but not explicit measures. The present research tested a process-account of such asymmetrical patterns. Specifically, we argue that implicit measures show experimental effects that do not emerge on explicit measures when (a) the pairing of an attitude object with positive or negative valence creates new automatic associations in memory, and, at the same time, (b) the consideration of additional information about the attitude object eliminates the impact of automatic associations on self-reported evaluative judgments. Results from three studies support these predictions. Implications for research on attitude change are discussed. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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