The relation between perception and behavior, or how to win a game of trivial pursuit

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1998 Apr;74(4):865-77. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.74.4.865.


The authors tested and confirmed the hypothesis that priming a stereotype or trait leads to complex overt behavior in line with this activated stereotype or trait. Specifically, 4 experiments established that priming the stereotype of professors or the trait intelligent enhanced participants' performance on a scale measuring general knowledge. Also, priming the stereotype of soccer hooligans or the trait stupid reduced participants' performance on a general knowledge scale. Results of the experiments revealed (a) that prolonged priming leads to more pronounced behavioral effects and (b) that there is no sign of decay of the effects for at least 15 min. The authors explain their results by claiming that perception had a direct and pervasive impact on overt behavior (cf. J.A. Bargh, M. Chen, & L. Burrows, 1996). Implications for human social behavior are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Netherlands
  • Play and Playthings
  • Psychological Theory
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Perception*
  • Stereotyping
  • Time Factors