A strategy for preventing the rebound effect on suppressing negative stereotypes: Focusing on the content of replacement thoughts

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Abstract

Suppressing stereotypical thoughts ironically leads to a rebound effect (i.e., an increase in the accessibility of the stereotypes after suppression). Past research has shown that using the counter-stereotypes (e.g., that the elderly are competent) as replacement thoughts was not successful in diminishing the rebound effect. In this research, based on the stereotype content model, we hypothesized that on suppressing one dimension of the stereotype (i.e., incompetence) another dimension (i.e., warmth) could be an effective and practical replacement. Specifically, we tested whether participants who suppressed the incompetence-related aspects of elderly stereotypes would diminish the rebound if they used warmth-related aspects of the elderly as a replacement. Experiment 1 confirmed the rebound effect after suppressing incompetence-related aspects of the elderly, and experiments 2 and 3 examined the effect of the thought-replacement strategy. On suppressing incompetence of the elderly, participants who focused on warmth-related aspects decreased the rebound effect compared to those who focused on the counterstereotypes. We discussed the efficacy of using another dimension of stereotypes to prevent the rebound effect.

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Tado’oka, Y., & Murata, K. (2010). A strategy for preventing the rebound effect on suppressing negative stereotypes: Focusing on the content of replacement thoughts. Research in Social Psychology, 26(1), 46–56. https://doi.org/10.14966/jssp.KJ00006714763

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