Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Conscious and non-conscious bases of social judgment: Mindset and implicit attitudes in the perception of intergroup conflict
by Sullivan, Susan D., Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2013, 94; 3571438
Abstract (Summary)

Research on social judgment typically emphasizes one of three processes that enable unequivocal understanding of events with ambiguous causality. In the social influence perspective, people are susceptible to the interpretations offered by others. In the explicit attitudes perspective, people interpret events in line with their consciously held attitudes and values. In the implicit attitudes perspective, people interpret events in line with unconscious biases. The model investigated in the present study assumes that these processes vary in salience depending on people’s mindset. When an event is encoded in high-level terms (i.e., its consequences), people’s judgments reflect their explicit attitudes. When encoded in low-level terms (i.e., its details), however, such attitudes are less accessible, rendering people susceptible to social influence. In the absence of social influence, people with a lower-level mindset form judgments that reflect their relevant implicit attitudes. These hypotheses were tested in the context of an altercation between an African-American and a White male for which responsibility could reasonably be allocated to either party. Participants with low versus high implicit racial bias toward Blacks read a narrative concerning this altercation under either a low-level or a high-level mindset and then read a summary that blamed one of the parties or they did not read a summary. As predicted, low-level participants allocated responsibility to the African-American if they had a high implicit racial bias and to the White if they had a low implicit racial bias, regardless of the summary manipulation. Contrary to prediction, however, high-level participants’ allocation of responsibility did not reflect their explicit prejudicial attitudes. Instead, they corrected for their implicit biases in their trait inferences and affective reactions, in line with research suggesting that a high-level mindset promotes self-regulatory processes in social judgment.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vallacher, Robin R.
Commitee: Greif, Marissa R., Lanning, Kevin, Sherman, Ryne A.
School: Florida Atlantic University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Experimental psychology
Keywords: Implicit attitudes, Intergroup conflict, Social judgment
Publication Number: 3571438
ISBN: 978-1-303-22810-0
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