On the malleability of automatic attitudes: combating automatic prejudice with images of admired and disliked individuals

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Nov;81(5):800-14. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.81.5.800.


Two experiments examined whether exposure to pictures of admired and disliked exemplars can reduce automatic preference for White over Black Americans and younger over older people. In Experiment 1, participants were exposed to either admired Black and disliked White individuals, disliked Black and admired White individuals, or nonracial exemplars. Immediately after exemplar exposure and 24 hr later, they completed an Implicit Association Test that assessed automatic racial attitudes and 2 explicit attitude measures. Results revealed that exposure to admired Black and disliked White exemplars significantly weakened automatic pro-White attitudes for 24 hr beyond the treatment but did not affect explicit racial attitudes. Experiment 2 provided a replication using automatic age-related attitudes. Together, these studies provide a strategy that attempts to change the social context and, through it, to reduce automatic prejudice and preference.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging
  • Association
  • Attitude*
  • Automatism*
  • Black or African American
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prejudice*
  • Semantics
  • Social Perception
  • Stereotyping
  • White People