Social stereotypes and automatic goal pursuit


Journal Article

Our repertoire of social behavior may include the ability to grasp and take on the goals of others automatically - that is, without conscious intent. Two experiments tested and confirmed the hypothesis that priming social groups causes individuals to pursue the goals stereotypical for members of those groups. Study 1 found that participants provided more feedback to help another person optimizing a computer task after subliminal priming of social groups associated with a helping goal. Importantly, these goal priming effects were qualified by goal strength: participants helped more when the concept of helping more strongly preexisted as a goal or desired state in the participant's mind. Study 2 established that participants worked harder on an unrelated task instrumental in attaining the goal to make money after priming social groups related to this goal. Implications for stereotype activation and automatic goal pursuit are discussed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Aarts, H; Chartrand, TL; Custers, R; Danner, U; Dik, G; Jefferis, VE; Cheng, CM

Published Date

  • December 1, 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 23 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 465 - 490

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 0278-016X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0278-016X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1521/soco.2005.23.6.465

Citation Source

  • Scopus