Does Accountability Attenuate or Amplify Stereotyping? The Role of Implicit Theories

  • Plaks J
  • Halvorson H
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Abstract

Does accountability (the expectation that one will be called on to justify one's beliefs or actions to others) attenuate or amplify stereotyping? The authors hypothesized that the effect of accountability on stereotype use in impression formation depends on perceivers' implicit theory (entity versus incremental). The authors assessed the effects of accountability and implicit theories on participants' impression of the target (studies 1 and 2), attention to the target's stereotype-consistent versus -inconsistent behavior (study 1), and sense of being entitled to judge the target (study 2). In both studies, accountability amplified the stereotypicality of entity theorists' impressions but, if anything, attenuated the stereotypicality of incremental theorists' im-pressions. Moreover, in study 1, the more attention accountable entity (but not incremental) theorists paid to counterstereotypic information, the more stereotype-driven were their impressions. In study 2, for entity theorists but not incremental theorists, perceived judgeability mediated the relationship between accountability and stereotypicality of judgment. How do people reconcile the simultaneous demands of, on the one hand, person-al processing preferences and, on the other hand, accountability to an audience? What strategies might people use to satisfy both aims? In the present research, we examined these questions by pitting accountability instructions against processing biases linked with stereotyping. More specifically, we investigated the effect of accountability on the impression formation tendencies associated with different implicit theories of personality. Im-plicit theories (also referred to as " lay, " " naive, " or " intuitive " theories) are core

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Authors

  • Jason E. Plaks

  • Heidi Grant Halvorson

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