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Abstract

When investigating the effects of aggression on person perception, many studies have relied on the famous ‘Donald’ paradigm (e.g., Srull & Wyer, 1979). Little attention has been paid, however, to the role that is played by the social identity of Donald (the target of perception) in such effects. Three studies with Dutch participants, consistently reveal that judgments of an ingroup (Dutch) target are less prone to be affected by aggression priming than judgments of an outgroup (Moroccan, Surinamese, German) target, and that this effect is moderated by the extent to which the target's group is associated with aggressiveness. Importantly, the studies show that such association can be created not only via well-established stereotypes (e.g., ‘Moroccans are aggressive’), but also via subtle contextual priming. When priming activates an association between ingroup and aggressiveness (‘The Dutch are aggressive’), the subsequent evaluation of the ingroup targets can also be influenced negatively. The present research thus demonstrates that social categorizations and the contextual associations attached to them delineate an important boundary condition for aggression priming effects. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.