Correction or comparison? The effects of prime awareness on social judgments
Article first published online: 17 FEB 2009
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 39, Issue 5, pages 719–733, August 2009
How to Cite
Maringer, M. and Stapel, D. A. (2009), Correction or comparison? The effects of prime awareness on social judgments. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 39: 719–733. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.569
- Issue published online: 7 JUL 2009
- Article first published online: 17 FEB 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 AUG 2008
- Manuscript Received: 15 MAY 2007
- Dutch Science Foundation (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek)
In previous research on the effects of accessible information on social judgments, divergent explanations have been offered for contrast effects that occur as a consequence of prime awareness. Some authors favor a comparison explanation, whereas others favor a correction explanation. In two studies, we successfully disentangled comparison and correction contrast by demonstrating that whereas correction for unwanted influences is a general process that leads to contrast on various dimensions on which a target is judged, comparison effects are prime specific and occur mainly on comparison relevant dimensions. In addition, our findings indicate that for correction attempts to occur and succeed, respondents must have the feeling that these primes contaminate their target judgments and should be removed from their “true” reaction to the target. When people are not suspicious of the potential contaminating influences of priming stimuli, prime awareness is more likely to lead to prime-target comparisons than to correction efforts. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.