The Bidirectional Causal Relation Between Implicit Stereotypes and Implicit Prejudice

Curtis E Phills, Adam Hahn, Bertram Gawronski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Although stereotypes and prejudice are commonly regarded as conceptually distinct but related constructs, previous research remains silent on the processes underlying their relation. Applying the balance-congruity principle to the concepts (a) group, (b) valence, and (c) attribute, we argue that the valence of attributes contained in a group-stereotype shapes evaluations of the group, while prejudice toward a group influences which attributes are stereotypically associated with the group. Using fictitious (Experiments 1 and 3) and real (Experiments 2 and 4) groups, the current studies demonstrate that (a) experimentally induced changes in the valence of semantic attributes associated with a group (stereotypes) influence implicit prejudice toward that group (Experiments 1 and 2), and (b) experimentally induced changes in the valence of a group (prejudice) influence implicit stereotyping of that group (Experiments 3 and 4). These findings demonstrate a bidirectional causal relation between prejudice and stereotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Early online date4 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Feb 2020


  • balance-congruity principle
  • evaluative conditioning
  • implicit social cognition
  • prejudice
  • stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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