Social influence effects on automatic racial prejudice

  • Lowery B
  • Hardin C
  • Sinclair S
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Although most research on the control of automatic prejudice has focused on the efficacy of deliberate attempts to suppress or correct for stereotyping, the reported experiments tested the hypothesis that automatic racial prejudice is subject to common social influence. In experiments involving actual interethnic contact, both tacit and expressed social influence reduced the expression of automatic prejudice, as assessed by two different measures of automatic attitudes. Moreover, the automatic social tuning effect depended on participant ethnicity. European Americans (but not Asian Americans) exhibited less automatic prejudice in the presence of a Black experimenter than a White experimenter (Experiments 2 and 4), although both groups exhibited reduced automatic prejudice when instructed to avoid prejudice (Experiment 3). Results are consistent with shared reality theory, which postulates that social regulation is central to social cognition.

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  • Brian S. Lowery

  • Curtis D. Hardin

  • Stacey Sinclair

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