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Behavioral rebound following stereotype suppression



Attempts to suppress stereotypes have often been found to result in an increased accessibility of these stereotypes. According to thought suppression literature together with research on prime-to-behavior effects, we hypothesized that suppression of stereotype can lead people to subsequently behave in accordance with its content and that these effects are stronger after suppression (rebound) than after a classical priming condition (i.e., no-suppression condition). Experiment 1 showed that suppression of the stereotype of sportsmen (associated with poor math performance) but not of Italian men (not related to math performance) led participants to subsequently perform worse on a calculus task in comparison to non-suppressors. These effects were replicated in a second experiment with another stereotype (elderly) and another behavior that does not require self-regulation (walking speed): Suppressors walked slower than non-suppressors. These findings are considered in the context of mental control and social stereotyping. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.